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Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives

For Immediate Release

August 5, 2008


Contact: Robert Browning / Tom Hill

(202) 648-8500

ATF Recognizes Employees and Law Enforcement Officers During Awards Ceremony

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey and ATF Acting Director Michael J. Sullivan recognized the accomplishment of Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives employees, and federal, state and local law enforcement, at the 12th Annual ATF Awards Ceremony held July 31.

Those of you we are honoring today have exemplified bravery, heroism, sacrifice, and dedication that stands out at an agency that has built, over the years and decades, a remarkable portfolio in each of these areas, said Mukasey. Honoring service is important. And it is especially important in law enforcement. Often, the unfortunate consequence of a successful arrest or takedown is that you make it look too easy — and no one fully realizes the hours put in, the risks involved, or what may have been at stake.

We work for a unique and vital organization that has one of the most important missions of any federal agency. We are the only agency whose number one priority is to fight violent crime. That’s our job. It is who we are. It is what we do, said Acting Director Sullivan. All of our training, all of our resources, all of our collective skills and experiences have equipped us to do this one thing and do it very well. We protect the public by going up against the most violent and dangerous criminals out there.

This year, 184 recipients were recognized for their achievements in the following categories: Gold Star Medal; Medal of Valor; Hostile Action Award; Distinguished Service Medal; James E. Little "Concern for People"Award; Johnny A. Masengale Memorial Award; Jake Kuredjian Memorial Award; Director’s Award, Director’s Internal Award; Honor Award; Lifetime Achievement Award; Memorial Award; Equal Opportunity Award; Lifesaving Award; Foreign Service Medal and five Employee of the Year Award categories.

Some of those so honored included:

  • Fifteen employees each received The Foreign Service Medal for their deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan for providing training in explosives and explosives detection for Iraqi police and U.S. soldiers stationed in Afghanistan.
  • Twenty-four ATF special agents, investigators, forensic laboratory specialists and intelligence analysts each received the Distinguished Service Medal for their work on the Virginia Tech shooting in April 2007.
  • Three special agents and one explosives enforcement officer each received the Hostile Action Award for their work on the Department of Defense task forces in Iraq called Combined Explosives Exploitation Cells.
  • Four special agents and one intelligence specialist each received a Distinguished Service Medal for their investigation of an international weapons-trafficking investigation involving the Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit of Ontario, Canada, U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and various ATF offices.
  • Three local police officers each were presented with the Jake Kuredjian Memorial Award. They were New York Police Department detective James O’Connor, Santa Ana Police Department detective Charles Saale and Lieutenant Daniel Villanueva of the Miami-Dade Police Department. This award is presented to law enforcement officers who have significantly contributed to the safety of agents during the preparation, planning or implementation of an enforcement operation with ATF.

More information on ATF and its programs can be found at