Spirit of Service Award Committee

2017 Spirit of Service Award Recipients honored at the 99th Annual Department Convention. Pictured from left to right: Sgt. David Diaz, Sgt. Princeston Leslie, Standing in for CS2 Jasper is CMC Beau Willis, Airman Brian Kamphaus, CS1 Tara Dodd


Washington’s Top Soldiers, Sailors, and Airmen Honored At the 99th Annual American Legion State Convention


KENNEWICK, WA (July 21, 2017) – Five of America’s finest enlisted service men and women were honored at the 99th Annual American Legion Department of Washington State Convention.

The 99th Convention was held at the Three Rivers Convention Center, Kennewick, WA on July 21, 2017.

Members of the US Army, US Marine Corps, US Navy, US Air Force, and US Coast Guard took the stage to receive the 5th Annual American Legion Department of Washington Spirit of Service Awards.

The awards were presented by American Legion State Commander Wayne Elston and Spirit of Service Commission Chairman Jake Cabuag. The 2017 Recipients of the awards are:


United States Army Sergeant Diaz

Sergeant Diaz is a native of Brooklyn, New York and enlisted in the United States Army in October 2010. He graduated Advanced Individual Training as a Corrections/Detention Specialist in April 2012.

He has served with the 595th Military Police Detention Company at Joint Base Lewis-McChord from October 2013 to the present. He deployed with his unit as Team Leader to Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from February 2015 to November 2015.

His military education includes graduation from the Warrior Leader Course and graduated as the Distinguished Honor Graduate of the Advanced Leader Course.   He also has attended the Unit Armorer course, Field Sanitation course, Combatives Level 1 course, Combat Lifesaver course, Law Enforcement Firearms instructor course and the Unit Prevention Leader course.

SGT Diaz Military awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal (2), the Army Achievement Medal (3), the Army Good Conduct Medal (2), the National Defense Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development Ribbon (2), the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon (2), and the Army Superior Unit Award.

His civilian education includes graduation with as Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies with Honors from American Military University. He is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Cybersecurity completing 119 semester hours. Additionally, he is a certified Corrections Officer with the American Correctional Association.

He has been an active community volunteer over the past two years in the Puget Sound region. He specifically volunteers as an assistant diving instructor for environmental clean-up while prefacing wildlife and waterway conservation. To date, his students have collected and disposed of an estimated 1,000 pounds of debris, creating a tremendous impact to our environment.

SGT Diaz consistently demonstrates the qualities of honorable conduct, not only in the military, but within the local community. His sterling example of living the Army values clearly extends outside the service to his country. SGT Diaz’ ability to prove his leadership qualities models the profession all members of service are asked to exhibit, his actions provide a positive example for others to follow and upholds the finest traditions of service to the military and the surrounding community.


United States Marine Corps Sergeant Princeston Leslie

Sergeant Leslie is a native of Hilo, HI. He attended Recruit Training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA in June 2011. Upon graduating from Recruit Training, Sergeant Leslie reported to Camp Pendleton for Marine Combat Training. Sergeant Leslie attended Basic Administration School at Camp Johnson, Jacksonville, NC for Military occupational specialty training as an Administrative Clerk.

Completing training in December 2011, Sergeant Leslie reported to Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Camp Johnson, NC where he served as an Administrative clerk, Education clerk and Training clerk.

In June 2015, Sergeant Leslie transferred to I-I Staff, Combat Logistics Battalion 23, Joint Base Lewis McChord, WA. During this tour of duty, Sergeant Leslie served as the Administrative clerk and Battalion Color Sergeant.

Sergeant Leslie’s awards include a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, and National Defense Medal.

Sergeant Leslie is committed to selfless service. Serving as the Battalion Color Sergeant, he has volunteered for numerous community relation events which include the Annual Memorial Ceremony for Fallen Marines of Iraq and the Magnolia Summerfest Seafair Parade. Sergeant Leslie has been a cornerstone of CLB-23 community relations effort and has been a vital part in supporting many other organizations that make meaningful contributions to the surrounding community.


United States Navy  Culinary Specialist Petty Officer Second Class Lawrence Jasper

Petty Officer Lawrence Jasper, a native of Hoffman, NC, enlisted in the United States Navy in August 2009 and attended Recruit Training Command at the Great Lakes, IL. After completing Recruit Training, he reported to Culinary Specialist “A” School, Great Lakes, IL from October to December 2009.

Following Culinary Specialist “A” School, Petty Officer Lawrence Jasper served onboard the Dock Landing Ship USS Carterhall from December 2009 to June 2014, serving as the command’s Repair Parts Petty Officer, Damage Control Petty Officer, Galley Watch Captain, Wardroom Culinary Specialist and Galley Cook on Watch. During his sea tour, he made two deployments, both of which were in the Middle East in support of the United States Navy’s mission readiness.

In June 2014, he was assigned to Naval Base Kitsap, Trident Inn Galley. While being stationed at Naval Base Kitsap, Petty Officer Jasper has been a Galley Watch Captain, Lower Base Watch Captain, Cook on Watch, and currently the Cash Collection Agent. Additionally, Petty Officer Jasper is the departmental Command Fitness Leader.

Petty Officer Jasper has competed in Culinary Competitions around the United States to include: Battling Chefs in Washington State; later to compete in the Commander, Navy Installations Command competition in Chicago, IL where he placed first and advanced to Washington D.C. and placed 3rd against the entire United States Navy.

Petty officer Jasper is a qualified Surface Warfare Specialist and his awards include the Joint Service Commendation Medal; Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Battle Efficiency Ribbon; Good Conduct Medal (two awards); National Defense Service Medal; Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (two awards); Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Sea Service Deployment ribbon (two awards); Overseas Service Ribbon (two awards); Rifle Marksman/Pistol Sharpshooter Ribbons.

Petty Officer Lawrence Jasper demonstrated selfless dedication to the community in volunteering over 200 off-duty hours to numerous community relations programs, including service meals to less fortunate members of the community and providing mentorship and a positive role model to young teenagers. Volunteer programs include Poulsbo Middle School Mentorship program, Lord’s Diner Soup Kitchen, All Navy Flag Football Team, Command Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Event Coordinator, Paddle to Nisqually Canoe Landing, and Sesame Street Live.


United States Air Senior Airman Brian Kamphaus

Senior Airman Brian P. Kamphaus is a native of Regensburg, Germany. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in November of 2013. Airman Kamphaus is an Aircraft Parts Store Journeyman assigned to the 92d Logistics Readiness Squadron, Fairchild Air Force Base and provides supply support for forty-four assigned KC-135 aircraft. Airman Kamphaus has embodied the essence of service from day one. In the last year, he has volunteered over 600 hours in support of various community events in the local Spokane area.

Airman Kamphaus’ passion for serving the community is evident in his dedication to protecting others through the local volunteer Fire Department. Since April 2016, he has responded to sixty-five emergencies, safeguarded 12,000 residents in a ninety-eight square mile response area. During this time, he has dedicated 300 off-duty hours of intense fire and first responder training, earning certification as a Volunteer Fire Fighter which attributed to saving fifty-two lives. Airman Kamphaus further supported his community by devoting 100 hours as a wildfire response team where he readied twenty-seven trucks in support of three states ensuring the protection of one million acres of land. Additionally, Airman Kamphaus coordinated care for the communities less fortunate by leading a four-man team, delivering 93 thousand pounds of canned goods to 300 families. He also dedicated time to the Ronald McDonald Children’s Hospital, leading an eight-man cooking team serving food and providing a much needed break for eighty children battling cancer. Furthermore, Airman Kamphaus’ dedication to serve was highlighted through his support to Habitat for Humanity. He rallied a twelve-person team, dedicating eighty hours to the construction of four homes in the Spokane region. His team installed siding, piping, vents and roofing on the homes, saving 210 thousand dollars in construction costs. Finally, Airman Kampahus dedicated 20 hours as the Fairchild’s Operation Home Front Toy Drive lead, organizing the pickup of ten thousand toys and facilitating the delivery to 1,200 children. In addition, he devoted 100 hours providing child care, school transportation and aided a fellow deployed Airman’s family on several occasions during a medical emergency.


United States Coast Guard Culinary First Class Tara Dodd

Petty Officer Tara Dodd hails from Kingwood, Texas. Starting her Coast Guard career in 2007, she reported to Station New York after completing basic training, before transitioning to Food Service Specialist (FS) “A” school to earn her rating.

Petty Officer Dodd has served as a Boat Crew Member on the CG Station New York, NY, Good service Specialist “A” School, Petaluma, CA, Galley Watch Stander, CG Station Georgetown, SC, Independent Duty FSO at the following stations: CGC Osprey, Port Townsend, WA, CGC Sea Lion, Bellingham, WA, and CGC Swordfish, Port Angeles, WA.

Petty Officer Dodd has had an impressive career with over two thirds of her time serving the Coast Guard spent as an independent duty Food Service Officer (FSO) at three different afloat units. She has balanced this with a shore side galley support role at Station Georgetown. Petty Officer Dodd is currently the independent duty FSO on board CGC SWORDFISH (WPB-87358) homeported in Port Angeles, Washington. Petty Officer Dodd is responsible for the purchasing, preparation, and nutritional value of all meals on board. She is also responsible for the sanitation and cleanliness of the cutter as the unit Master at Arms. Other collateral duties include: Inport Officer of the Day (OOD), CB-M boat crew member, .50 caliber mount captain, anchor watch OOD, and damage control on-scene leader.

Petty Officer Dodd’s awards and decorations include the Permanent Cutterman’s Insignia, Coast Guard Commendation Medal, Coast Guard Achievement Medal (3); Good Conduct Medal (3) and Sea Service ribbon (3). Other achievements include Food Service “A School Honor Graduate- 2008; Sailor of the Quarter for Station Georgetown-2008; Coast Guard Culinary Arts Team-2008; Sailor of the Quarter onboard CGC Sea Lion-2014; Enlisted Person of the Year for the 13th Coast Guard District-2016; and Culinary Specialist of the Year-2016.

Petty Officer Dodd exemplifies her Service in volunteer work onboard and in her homeport community of Port Angeles, Washington and the northern Olympic Peninsula.  As a Culinary Specialist and independent duty Food Service Officer (FSO), her mastery of craft engaged leadership through voluntary training of fellow cooks and subsistence specialists onboard the five afloat commands; she further managed the food services accounting paperwork for a co-located galley aboard a sister ship while that FSO was on medical recovery leave.  She was sought out to provide training for prospective Commanding Officers and Officers in Charge on galley management, health, and habitability onboard coastal patrol boats.

The following are a few examples of CS1 Dodd’s “Spirit of Service”:  Petty Officer Dodd led an effort at decorating a six-mile stretch of road for the holiday season this past year.  Additionally, Petty Officer Dodd inspected and replaced 40 non-functional smoke detectors at a community retirement center, as part of the Red Cross’ “Operation Home Fire” campaign.  She formed a personal relationship with a neighbor and World War II veteran in her subdivision, initially by helping mowing his lawn and completing odd jobs around his home, when she discovered that he was struggling with these chores.  As part of personifying our Core Values of Honor, Respect, and Devotion to Duty, Petty Officer Dodd devotes precious time on- and off-duty around her Cutter’s underway schedule in helping others as a Citizen and a Service Member.


To be qualified to receive The American Legion Spirit of Service Award, an individual must be an outstanding military professional and be actively involved in volunteer projects within their community during off-duty hours. It is awarded to enlisted personnel of rank E-6 and below who not only excel in their daily duty performance, but also devote time to serve their communities.

Those in uniform today, from all branches of military service, often go out of their way to make a difference in the lives of others in the communities in which they live. Today, The American Legion honors these outstanding Americans who reflect the great spirit of service to others that the founders of our organization considered essential.

As wartime veterans, Legionnaires understand and embrace the concept of service to our communities, states and nation. Every one of these outstanding military members represents the true spirit of service – a steadfast commitment to serve their country and their fellow Americans.

The American Legion is the nation’s largest organization of wartime veterans with a current membership of 2.3 million wartime veterans nationwide and over 30,000 members here in Washington. The American Legion was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong National Security, Veteran’s Affairs, Americanism and youth programs. Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.

For more information, please see contact Jake Cabuag at (425) 218-4624 and jake.cabuag@gmail.com




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