Navy Memorial Host 23rd Annual Lone Sailor Awards Dinner

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Navy Memorial Host 23rd Annual Lone Sailor Awards Dinner

Navy Memorial Host 23rd Annual Lone Sailor Awards Dinner


Navy Memorial Host 23rd Annual Lone Sailor Awards Dinner

Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Mikelle Smith, Defense Media Activity - Anacostia Public Affairs

September 16, 2010

Navy Memorial Host 23rd Annual Lone Sailor Awards Dinner

Story Number: NNS100916-01

Release Date: 9/16/2010 5:21:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Mikelle Smith, Defense Media Activity - Anacostia Public Affairs

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Navy Memorial honored three former sea service veterans during the 2010 Lone Sailor awards dinner held at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., Sept. 15.

The distinguished veterans included Dr. William H. Cosby Jr., Eddie LeBaron and Lanier Phillips, who were presented with the Lone Sailor award in front of military members and distinguished guests at the dinner.

Cosby, an actor, producer and entertainer, was recognized for his accomplishments as a civilian after serving in the U.S. Navy.

LeBaron was recognized for excelling as an entrepreneur and as a famed Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys quarterback after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War.

Phillips, the first African-American sonar technician in the U.S. Navy during World War II, was one of the survivors of the USS Truxton (DD 209) shipwreck.

The Lone Sailor award is presented to sea service veterans who have excelled with distinction in their respective civilian careers while continuing to exemplify the Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment. Retired Rear Adm. Edward K. Walker Jr., who served in the U.S. Navy's Supply Corps, said these core values represent qualities service members continue exhibiting today.

"Our honorees are living examples of how service to country changes lives and helps develop leaders - whether it is in the world of sports, politics, government, the private sector or the arts. The common theme they all express is that their public service has given them a solid foundation for their careers and instilled in them the enduring values that propels them to continue to serve their communities," said Walker.

Cosby, who joined the U.S Navy 40 years ago served as a hospital corpsman at three naval installations to include Bethesda Naval Hospital in Bethesda, Md. Cosby said his four-year enlistment in the Navy provided him with a starting point to develop personally and professionally.

"My wake up call about responsibility came when I entered the Navy," said Cosby. "Receiving the Lone Sailor award was wonderful for me. To be a recipient of this award along with gentlemen like Lanier Phillips and Eddie LaBaron shows us just how far we have come and how moral value is being brought to all Americans."

Cosby, an internationally recognized comedian, has been an active figure in community outreach and continues involvement in show business.

LeBaron, a graduate of the former College of the Pacific where he was named an All-American in 1949, served in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. Wounded twice, LeBaron received the Purple Heart, and, for heroic actions on the front lines, was also awarded the Bronze Star.

LeBaron said being recognized by the U.S. Navy Memorial was something he cherished.

"I am honored to receive the Lone Sailor award," said LeBaron. "Looking through the list of past recipients leaves me feeling very grateful and knowing that my part in the military and society has impacted a life makes me proud. I will never forget this recognition."

LeBaron added that his military experience contributed greatly to his later successes.

"The discipline I learned in the Marine Corps as a lieutenant was always very important to me," said LeBaron. "I learned how to make concise decisions from my experiences, and I applied all of that knowledge to structuring my ventures in life."

LeBaron played with the Redskins for seven seasons after being drafted in the 10th round of the 1950 National Football League draft, starting 55 of a possible 72 games. He additionally played three seasons with the Dallas Cowboys and was selected to the Pro Bowl four times (1955, 1957, 1958 and 1962). LeBaron is the shortest quarterback to ever be selected to the Pro Bowl.

Phillips, one of the few African-American Sailors aboard Truxtun when the ship ran aground during a vicious storm off the coast of Newfoundland in 1942, was saved by individuals from the village of St. Lawrence. Initially terrified to venture ashore because of racial tensions he had experienced, Phillips found himself welcomed by St. Lawrence village members, a marked cry from his southern United States upbringing.

"I am filled with gratitude to the people who chose me as a recipient," said Phillips. "I never thought the little part I played in the fight for equality during my time in the Navy would get me honored today. I was doing what any man would do to better his life."

Phillips added that in the nearly 70 years since the incident which changed his life, the strides made in ensuring equality in the Navy are something he said serves to further not only the individual ideal, but the betterment of the country he served as a Sailor.

"When I see today's Navy with such a diverse background of Sailors serving and joining together for the greater good of this nation, I become proud of the obstacles I faced because it paid off in the end, and today I will forever be a U.S Navy Sailor," said Phillips.

Prior to the awards ceremony dinner, Cosby, LeBaron and Phillips received a tour of the U.S. Navy Memorial, which houses the Lone Sailor statue. The Lone Sailor statue is a composite of the U.S. Navy bluejacket, past, present and future, and was designed in 1987.

The Lone Sailor award has been given to 67 Navy and Marine Corps veterans, and the U.S. Navy Memorial continues to provide Navy veterans and personnel currently serving with a place to celebrate their service.

For more news, visit www.navy.mil.

This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work of the United States federal government (see 17 U.S.C. 105).