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Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

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Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

Post by greg parker on Tue 16 Jul 2013, 7:29 pm

According to wiki...


Nominees shall have served a minimum of three (3) years in an organization receiving operational support from the Washington Headquarters Services' Directorate for Personnel and Security Customer Support Operating Office or in the Joint Staff, or a combination of the two.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary_of_Defense_Exceptional_Civilian_Service_Award

according to the National Cyclopædia of American Biography, 1964 edition, Fred Korth received this award in 1953.

Korth came to Washington in March, 1952. to serve as Deputy Counsel for the Army and then as Asst Secretary for the Army (Manpower & Reserves). He was in those positions for a total of less than 2 years, so how did he qualify for this award?

I understand it may have been different in the '50s, but I don't believe it would have been (unless someone can confidently tell me otherwise). To have no mandatory period in which someone must have served is to invite awards being given for someone who only worked a week in the required areas - and anything less than 3 years seems too paltry and devalues the award. Three years minimum seems about right to me. 

Korth must have made the balance of the period up "in an organization receiving operational support from the... Directorate... " 
but his bio doesn't reflect this...  can anyone shed any light...?

_________________
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I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
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Out to where the van is waiting
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            Billy Bragg
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Re: Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

Post by greg parker on Tue 16 Jul 2013, 10:26 pm

Just found this in a Dept of Defense doc 

FRED H. KORTH. U.S. Army, 1942-1946. Assistant secretary of the Army, 1952-1953. Consultant to the secretary of the Army, 1953-1960. Secretary of the Navy, 4 January 1962-1 November 1963. Returned to Texas as treasurer of the Fort Worth Air Terminal Corporation.
http://www.whs.mil/library/Key47-04/navy.pdf

I also need to correct the year in my first post... Korth came to Washington in March '51 - not '52... it was May '52 he became an Asst Secretary of the Army... but he definitely went back to Fort Worth in '53 and was given the award in '53.  If he returned to private life at the end of '53, I guess he has about 2.75 years... 

This doc is the first mention I've seen that he was acting as a  consultant to the Secretary of the Army up until 1960...

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

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Re: Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

Post by beowulf on Wed 17 Jul 2013, 3:26 am

Seemingly mandatory requirements for military decorations don't really bind the issuing authority. If Congressman (& Navy reservist) Lyndon Johnson can be awarded a Silver Star for flying as an observer on one (1!) bombing mission, then surely a political appointee can get around a time on the job requirement for an award.  Assistant secretaries are nominated by the president and usually confirmed by Senate (Presidents sometimes make temporary recess appointments when the Senate isn't in session).


The critical fact here is since the Democratic president (Truman) who hired Korth retired in January 1953, the incoming Republican president (Eisenhower) would only keep Korth around until his successor could be appointed and confirmed. The award was probably just a nice going away present.

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Re: Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

Post by greg parker on Wed 17 Jul 2013, 8:01 am

beowulf wrote:Seemingly mandatory requirements for military decorations don't really bind the issuing authority. If Congressman (& Navy reservist) Lyndon Johnson can be awarded a Silver Star for flying as an observer on one (1!) bombing mission, then surely a political appointee can get around a time on the job requirement for an award.  Assistant secretaries are nominated by the president and usually confirmed by Senate (Presidents sometimes make temporary recess appointments when the Senate isn't in session).


The critical fact here is since the Democratic president (Truman) who hired Korth retired in January 1953, the incoming Republican president (Eisenhower) would only keep Korth around until his successor could be appointed and confirmed. The award was probably just a nice going away present.

I had been working on the premise that he was doing something on behalf of the directorate prior to '51. 

But yes, I can buy your explanation. I hate not running these things down. There are numerous references in the literature to his getting this award - none of them with a citation (and it did take a while to find something usable for that purpose), let alone an explanation. I admit, it may not seem worthy going to those depths, but sometimes rabbit holes can lead to an oasis. 
Or at least, that's what I learned from a childhood of watching Bugs Bunny cartoons albino .

He did receive another award in '59 (under Eisenhower)... the Outstanding Civilian Service Award from the Secretary of Defense.

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

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Re: Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

Post by beowulf on Fri 19 Jul 2013, 4:47 pm

The Korean War was still going on in 1952 so this was by no means a sleepy peacetime job. Korth had to call up World War II vets from the reserves, draft and train new recruits while rotating officers and men in and out of Korea. 

I seem to recall there was a big debate at the time whether Congress should draft young men as needed by Selective Service lottery or require every 18 year old male go through Universal Military Training. That issue too would be squarely on the plate of the Asst. Secretary of the Army for Manpower & Reserves. I wouldn't be surprised if Korth actually did three peacetime years worth of work during his short tenure.

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Re: Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

Post by greg parker on Fri 19 Jul 2013, 7:12 pm

The Korean War was still going on in 1952 so this was by no means a sleepy peacetime job.
Well spotted. The position taken up by Korth was specifically created because of the Korean war POW "situation". This is integral to my manuscript.

I believe he would have had oversight of the POW studies, manpower studies, recruitment studies etc. Enter Oswald, stage left.

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

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Re: Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

Post by beowulf on Sat 20 Jul 2013, 4:05 am

"I believe he would have had oversight of the POW studies"

True story (from Max Hastings Korean War book), there was one POW camp in North Korea where the Chinese guards couldn't understand why prisoner morale was, as POW camps go, sky high.  American  prisoners would actually volunteer for work details in the neighboring fields and they just seemed to always be in a good mood.  The guards never figured out it was because cannabis grows wild in Korea.

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Re: Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

Post by greg parker on Sat 20 Jul 2013, 8:01 pm

beowulf wrote:"I believe he would have had oversight of the POW studies"

True story (from Max Hastings Korean War book), there was one POW camp in North Korea where the Chinese guards couldn't understand why prisoner morale was, as POW camps go, sky high.  American  prisoners would actually volunteer for work details in the neighboring fields and they just seemed to always be in a good mood.  The guards never figured out it was because cannabis grows wild in Korea.
Western decadence wins again! Go for it!

_________________
Mixing Pop and Politics he asks me what the use is
I offer him embarrassment and my usual excuses
While looking down the corridor
Out to where the van is waiting
I'm looking for the Great Leap Forward

            Billy Bragg
-----------------------------
 Australians don't mind criminals: It's successful bullshit artists we despise. 
             Lachie Hulme            
-----------------------------
The Cold War ran on bullshit.
              Me

greg parker
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Re: Secretary of Defense Exceptional Civilian Service Award

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