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UNIFORMED SERVICES AWARDS

The FAPAC Uniformed Services Awards recognize and honor members of the Uniformed Services which include the armed forces, commissioned corps of the Public Health Service, and the commissioned corps of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration.

The award is presented during the FAPAC National Leadership Training Program (NLTP). The NLTP is held each year in the month of May to coincide with Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

Performance Period: 2021 Fiscal Year (Oct 1, 2020 to Sept 30, 2021) or Calendar Year (Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2021)

Point of Contact: awards@fapac.org

Congratulations to the
2022 Uniformed Services Award Winners

Major Seth Varayon, U.S. ARMY

Major Seth Varayon currently works on the Army Talent Management Task Force in the Strategic Initiatives Group. Major Seth Varayon’s contributions to the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community, serve as a benchmark of outstanding accomplishment that will impact Soldiers and Families for generations to come. Throughout 2021, MAJ Varayon pursued bold transformation to advance the Army’s engagement with minority groups. He instituted relevant and enduring outreach, championed communication and professional development opportunities, and exhibited unparalleled duty performance that resulted in more equitable opportunity across the Army. The Army is now on a better path towards a more inclusive future, postured to better address the talents, needs and desires of the diverse 21st Century Soldier. Seth’s exemplary performance and self-less service well aligns with the ideals associated with the Federal Asian Pacific Islander Council and bring great credit to him, the Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander community, and the United States Army.

MAJ Varayon served his first assignment at Fort Campbell, KY, as a Rifle Platoon Leader and Rifle Company Executive Officer. He deployed to Afghanistan twice. MAJ Varayon served as Assistant Operations Officer, Platoon and Company Senior Observer, Coach, and Trainer, Assistant Brigade S3, Operations Officer for the Live Fire Division, Operations Officer, BN Operations Officer, and BN Executive Officer. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal (2OLC), the Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal (2OLC). He has earned the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, Expert Infantryman's Badge, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge (Gold), and the Ranger Tab.

Petty Officer First Class Jack Chan, U.S. Navy

OS1 Chan took on the role of Cyber Security Analyst and the Department Leading Petty Officer in support of the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific command's network. He is the Deputy Lead for the Vulnerability Management team tracking over 11,000 assets and eight systems within the command. His work directly improved the command's cybersecurity readiness and network compliance, which sustained our intense research, development, and sustainment of the Fleet's critical information warfare capabilities. Additionally, his involvement within the command is tremendous as he volunteered as an Assistant Command Fitness Leader, Command Resilience Team member, Vice President of the First Class Petty Officer Association, and Diversity team Lead for the military. During the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, New York City became the pandemic's epicenter. OS1 Chan dedicated his time to volunteering with the American Legions and his local lion dance club, fostering positive community relations on behalf of the U.S. Navy. He continually sets an outstanding example and makes himself readily available to junior and senior personnel.

Lieutenant Colonel Charlynne McGinnis, U.S. Air Force

Lieutenant Colonel Charlynne M. McGinnis distinguished herself as Deputy Director, Commander’s Action Group, Pacific Air Forces Headquarters, Joint Base Pearl Harbor- Hickam, Hawai’i, from 1 October 2020 to 31 September 2021. During this time, Lieutenant Colonel McGinnis organized the Department of Defense’s and Pacific Air Forces’ first ever Women, Peace, and Security Symposium which connected female civilian and military barrier breakers and leaders from 22 countries in five continents. Additionally, Lieutenant Colonel McGinnis planned and coordinated a three-ship sortie of C-17, KC-135, and F-22 flown by an all Asian-American Pacific Islander crew from both active duty and the Hawai’i Air National Guard in celebration of Asian-American Pacific Islander Month. In conjunction with the sortie, cadets from the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps Detachment 175 of University of Hawai’i were invited to learn about the C-17 and KC-135 aircraft and observe an aeromedical evacuation demonstration from Team Hickam. Furthermore, to commemorate Filipino-American History Month and 75th anniversary of the end of World War II, Lieutenant Colonel McGinnis directed a video highlighting the contributions of Filipino-American service members starting from the Civil War. The video was disseminated to and viewed by at least 10,000 personnel. Moreover, Lieutenant Colonel McGinnis, as an active member of the community, established a Census 2020 virtual series framework to reach the Filipino and Filipino-American communities in Hawai’i which is approximately 25% of the total state population. Her efforts resulted in a historic 99.9% enumeration, the highest for the state since the start of the census. Lastly, she served as an advisor for the standup of a virtual platform relaying timely, relevant, and accurate COVID-19 information to the 4 million Americans of Filipino descent across the country. The distinctive accomplishments of Lieutenant Colonel McGinnis mirror the high ethical standards of the Federal Asian Pacific American Council, and reflect credit upon herself and the United States Air Force.

Master Sergeant Monica Diaz De Lope-Diaz, U.S. Air Force

Master Sergeant Monica Diaz de Lope-Diaz is an Education and Training member assigned to the 56th Operations Group at the Executive Officer, Luke Air Force Base, Arizona. Sergeant Diaz’s military awards include the 2011 56th Bomb Wing Airman of the Quarter, 2020 56th Operations Group Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and 2021 56th Fighter Wing Tuskegee Airman Nomination. Sergeant Diaz started her first duty station at Langley AFB, Virginia where she performed duties as an Aircrew Flight Equipment Journeyman in the 1st Operations Support Squadron.

In July 2010, Sergeant Diaz received an assignment to Minot AFB, where she performed duties as an Aircrew Flight Equipment Journeyman in the 5th Operations Support Squadron. While assigned at Minot AFB, she deployed to Andersen AFB, Guam in support of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command’s Continuous Bomber Presence. In July 2013, Sergeant Diaz then received an assignment to Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, where she performed duties as an Aircrew Flight Equipment Craftsman and Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge of the Parachute Section for the 58th Operations Support Squadron. While assigned to Kirtland AFB, she was selected to retrain into the Education and Training career field. Shortly upon selection, she attended the Education and Training Technical School in August 2015. In October 2016, Sergeant Diaz received an assignment to Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, where she performed duties as a Maintenance Training Scheduler for the 51st Maintenance Group. In October 2017, she arrived at Luke AFB, Arizona and performed duties at the Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge of the 56th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 756th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron until June 2018.

In June 2018, Sergeant Diaz was selected to perform duties as the Protocol Noncommissioned Officer-in-Charge for the 56th Fighter Wing. Upon excelling at the 56th Fighter Wing, she was then selected to serve as the Training Manager for the 56th Operations Group in June 2019. In June 2021, she assumed her current position as the Executive Officer for the 56th Operations Group Commander.

Major Sadia Ali Heil, U.S. Air Force Reserves

Through leadership and action, Maj Heil served as a steadfast advocate for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. As a member of the Pacific Islander and Asian American Community Team (PACT), a Department of the Air Force Barrier Analysis Working Group, she spearheaded an effort that improved training across the entire Air Force! Changes were made to the required “Force Protection” course, enhancing accuracy and inclusivity--supporting deployment and readiness requirements for over 505k Airmen. Additionally, she was hand-selected by the Commander of Air Education and Training Command for a “Real Talk” conversation to discuss her experience as a South Asian Muslim American in the United States Air Force. The panel reached over 3.6K viewers, was highlighted in Air Force Magazine, and promoted a strategic vision for diversity, equity, and inclusion as unifying core values for service members. Furthermore, Maj Heil increased Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in mainstream media by authoring two reflective pieces published by The War Horse and The Washington Post. Both essays honor service and sacrifice, and illustrate how diversity is vital to national security. Finally, she raised over $1.5K to welcome six refugee families, which contributed to the effectiveness of OPERATION ALLIES WELCOME.

Captain Calvin Suratos, U.S. Space Force

Captain Calvin V. Suratos is an Aide-de-Camp to the Assistant to the Director of the Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA). He serves as the confidential assistant to ensure actions align with national strategic guidance. His duties include facilitating official activities with the White House, CCMDs, DoD CIO, Joint Staff and other national agencies and different mission partners. Also, he enables global mission responsibilities and coordinates Assistant to the Director’s role in speaking events and official functions by managing all protocol, travel, and communication needs.

His previous job was the Mission Engagement Operations Officer at DISA under the Development and Business Center, Resource Management, Architecture and Standards Engineering Office. His role consisted of analyzing 290 operation and software issues and developing algorithmic code solutions to test and mitigate those issues using Java Spring Framework and MySQL software. He deployed and maintained the $10M software application used by all sectors of the DoD. Lastly, he did mission partner engagement and program acquisition with DoD Chief Information Office (CIO).

His previous assignment was at the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Unit as a Space Situational Awareness Software Engineer and Lead Assessments Engineer under the Satellite Assessment Center Branch, Space Electro-Optics Division, Directed Energy Directorate. He is responsible for executing $2.9M Research and Development contract, leading an 18- member laser imaging team for test experiments, assessing constructive space and laser system vulnerabilities, and developing $4.3M laser to space probabilistic risk assessment methodology. The Lieutenant also possesses practical knowledge in high/low level programming, cyber network infrastructure, and advanced embedded system.

Lieutenant (O3) Maria Villanueva, U.S. Coast Guard

LT Maria Fiorella N. Villanueva was born and raised in Baguio City, Philippines. In 2008, she enlisted in Guam at the age of seventeen and upon graduating bootcamp, was first stationed aboard USCGC IDA LEWIS (WLM 551) in Newport, Rhode Island. She then went to Yeoman “A” school in Petaluma, CA and was stationed at District 13 (dmp) as a YN3. Following her successful tour, she worked at the Executive Secretariat for the Commandant and Vice Commandant as a YN2 and at CG (094) Regulations and Administrative Law as a YN1.

LT Villanueva graduated from Officer Candidate School in 2017 and served as a Deck Watch Officer aboard USCGC LEGARE (WMEC 912). After serving afloat, she was then stationed in Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM) Mission Management System (MMS) as an auditor for prevention field units. Currently she serves as the Division Chief of Sector Delaware Bay's Waterways Management.

LT Villanueva has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Environmental Management from University of Maryland-University College. She was the 2015 recipient of the Joe King Scholarship through the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME). Her personal awards include Commendation Medal, four Coast Guard Achievement Medals (with ‘O’ Device), Commandant's Letter of Commendation Ribbon (with ‘O’ Device), the Commandant’s Staff Badge, and other personal and service awards.

Commander Jerry Zee, U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps

Commander (CDR) Jerry Zee is the Regional Pharmacist for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) - New York Regional Office. He provides technical support to the Drug and Health Plan Operations which is a division that ensures millions of Medicare Advantage and Part D beneficiaries to have equitable access to healthcare coverage and prescription medications. This officer deployed for 300+ days for the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps on 11 different missions, domestic and overseas, and was a voting member for the Asian Pacific American Officers Committee (APAOC), which is an advisory body to the U.S. Surgeon General on AAPI issues for six years. CDR Zee is a regional representative for CMS on the White House Initiative on Asian Americans Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders (WHIAANHPI), and spoke on various summits over the years regarding equitable access to government services for the AANHPI community.

Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Luke Evancoe, NOAA Commissioned Officers Corps

During 2021, LTJG Evancoe fostered an innovative and harmonious environment between the uniformed services and Pacific Islander communities, especially in regard to Pacific Island Region (PIR) youth. Over the course of the past year, he reached over 800 high school/middle school-aged PIR students through online presentations, mentoring, and career fairs, adding to an increased interest in marine/environmental science and the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps. During the Spring and Fall 2021 Hawaii Island Virtual Career Expos, LTJG Evancoe explained the educational pathway to his current position in the uniformed services. Using multimedia, he showed students video of what life is like as a commissioned officer on a NOAA ship, as well as the scientific diving operations that the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument team takes part in. LTJG Evancoe also helped facilitate a significant training opportunity for PIR middle and high school educators through a four hour “Coral Champions Workshop.'' LTJG Evancoe and his colleagues presented PIR student field journal activities to a cohort of 14 teachers serving approximately 1000 students so that they could bring the interactive activities back to their classrooms, and encourage students to view themselves as reef stewards and active agents for change.

FAPAC is a 501 (c)(3) nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing the civilian and military Asian Pacific American (APA) employees in the Federal and District of Columbia governments.
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