Robins IG receives Defense Medal

  • Published
  • By Wayne Crenshaw
  • 78 ABW/PA
The new inspector general at Robins has been awarded the Defense Superior Service Medal for work in his previous assignment at U.S. Southern Command.

The Defense Superior Service Medal is awarded by the Secretary of Defense to military officers who demonstrate superior meritorious service in a position of significant responsibility.

Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer, WR-ALC commander, presented the award to Col. John Cote at a staff meeting last week. It is the fifth highest medal, ranking just behind the Silver Star.

"I am honored to give you this," she said. "There are very few people who get this medal."

At SOUTHCOM headquarters in Miami, Cote served as division chief of strategic initiatives and deputy director of training and exercises from 2005 until June of this year.

The award citation stated that Cote's "outstanding leadership, dedicated efforts, and superb professionalism had significant impact on this Command's ability to accomplish its missions in the global war on terrorism, counter-drug and counter-narcoterrorism support, crisis response and theater security cooperation."

Cote said he was honored to get it but he gave the credit to his staff at SOUTHCOM.

"With all that we did and the importance of the mission, it goes unknown to an awful lot of the public how important Latin America is," he said. "The award doesn't really represent so much what I did, but what my people did. I wish I could share it with the 35 personnel who worked for me there."

Cote said he is most proud of his and his team's work helping turn PANAMAX into the Department of Defense's largest joint and combined exercise. During his tenure it grew from 16 to 32 partner nations.

"I was able to touch a little bit of everything we do down there," he said.