Secretary of State employee, SFC Patrick McDonald, awarded the Bronze Star Medal

News Release
Issued: April 27, 2006

IRAQ...Sergeant First Class (SFC) Patrick McDonald , who in civilian life is Special Assistant to Secretary of State Sam Reed, has been awarded the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious service during his deployment to Iraq. McDonald, deployed to Baghdad in late June, played a major role in setting up the October 15 vote on the constitution and the Election for the Council of Representatives held December 15.

As a member of the Civil Military Operations – Elections Branch, McDonald assisted in the preparations for a massive voter registration drive which brought 1.2 million new Iraqi voters on the rolls. In addition, he worked more than six months setting up special voting on provisional ballots for the Iraqi Security forces, such as the Iraqi Army and Iraqi Police Force, who could not vote in their home provinces.

McDonald is assigned to the elections team because of his extensive background in the field and his position held at the Office of Secretary of State.

"I am humbled," said McDonald. "The elections were one of the seminal events in the future of this country and I am proud to have been part of it. I traveled throughout the country assisting with the election process. I experienced the worst and the best of Iraq and am constantly amazed by the resilience and pride of the people here. This award not only signifies how tough it was to implement the electoral process in Iraq, but also the hard work and service of all of those who wear our nation’s uniform.”

The Bronze Star Medal is a major combat award given to people who have done extraordinary work.

On recommending the award, Brigadier General David Blackledge, Civil Military Operations Director writes,"Sergeant First Class McDonald far exceeded expectations and quickly became one of the key personnel for elections coordination with the Independent Electoral Commission of Iraq, the United Nations, and Multi-National Forces-Iraq. He was instrumental in making Iraqi Security Force voting happen."

Secretary Reed praised McDonald for his remarkable achievement.

'I am deeply proud," said Secretary Reed. "The is a great tribute to Sgt. McDonald's service and to his experience and knowledge of Washington State elections."

Since the elections, McDonald has focused on formalizing proposed election laws and procedures and setting up the first Civil Affairs course for the Iraqi military.

McDonald says his most memorable experience in Iraq is working with the Iraqi people and watching the plan for Iraqi Security Force voting implemented and successfully executed.

McDonald has been part of the 448th Civil Affairs Battalion, an Army Reserve unit located on Fort Lewis, since 1994. He has been deployed to Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo. The Iraq deployment marks the longest in his 15-year military career.

Background on the Bronze Star Medal

The Bronze Star Medal was established by Executive Order 9419 on February 4, 1944.

"The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army of the United States after 6 December 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. Awards may be made for acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star. "