News - Television
Supports You: Navy Honors Montel Williams for
Supporting Sailors, Marines
March 2008 – To recognize his
continuous support and recognition of
sailors, Marines and their families
throughout his 17 years on television, the
Navy presented its Superior Public Service
Award to Montel Williams yesterday in New
York during the taping of his long-running
program’s final show.
The Department of the Navy
Superior Public Service
Award is presented to Montel
Williams March 19, 2008, in
New York for his continuous
support and recognition of
servicemembers and their
families throughout his 17
years on television. Capt.
Kenneth J. Braithwaite,
Director, Joint Public
Affairs Support Element
Reserve, presented the award
to Williams on behalf of
Chief of Naval Operations
Adm. Gary Roughead during
the taping of the series
finale. The Superior Public
Service Award is the second
highest award presented to
civilians by the Department
of the Navy. U.S. Navy photo
by Lt. Mark Duehmig
(Click photo for
Navy Capt. Kenneth J. Braithwaite II, a rear
admiral selectee and director of Joint
Public Affairs Support Element Reserve,
presented the award to Williams on behalf of
Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Gary
Roughead. The Superior Public Service Award
is the second-highest award presented to
civilians by the Department of the Navy.
"Thank you, thank you," said
Williams after he was surprised with the
award presentation once the show began
rolling. "I've tried in the industry to
recognize (military servicemembers) and
really bring to the forefront what is being
sacrificed. I want to thank you, all of you,
for what you do." Williams continued to
wear the award throughout the finale show.
A video message from Roughhead, thanking
Williams for his dedication and support to
all sailors and Marines, will air in a
special segment during the final week of
“The Montel Williams Show” before it
goes off the air in May.
"It was an honor to be able to award a
true patriot like Mr. Williams,"
Braithwaite said. "This award signifies
his genuine gratitude for military service.
He has a definite understanding and
appreciation of what sailors and Marines
sacrifice, something he knows well from his
own military experience."
Williams enlisted in the Marine Corps in
1974, and in 1975 he was selected as the
first black Marine to attend the Navy Prep
School. He graduated from the U.S. Naval
Academy in 1980 and was commissioned as an
intelligence officer, specializing in
During annual holiday shows in his
television program’s long run, Williams
has reunited deployed sailors with their
families. In 2006, he and a production crew
flew to the Navy Central Command/5th Fleet
area of responsibility to tour Iraqi oil
platforms and meet with deployed sailors
aboard the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.
His program frequently has featured guests
from nonprofit organizations that support
servicemembers to highlight their efforts.
Throughout his 17 years on televisions,
Williams continuously shared with audience
members and viewers the importance of
supporting the military and recognized
sailors' personal sacrifices in service to
Williams' mother and relatives were in the
audience for the series finale. To his
staff, some of whom had been with the show
since the first day, Williams declared that
it would be a fun show celebrating their 17
years on television.
"It is very bittersweet today.
Everybody has worked so hard," said
Kwame White, production assistant. "He
is a great man. Every day, while at work, I
meet someone amazing here who has overcome
something, and it has given me such an
appreciation for what I have."
Navy Band Northeast, stationed in Newport,
R.I., opened the show by playing the
program’s theme song.
"It was pretty intense and it was fun.
There was a lot of energy in that
studio," Petty Officer 3rd Class Marc
Heskett, who was featured on the saxophone,
said. "Our performances are not
Lt. Carl Gerhard, Navy Band Northeast
director, said he was happy to be part of
the event. "It feels great to be a part
of this day," he said. "This is a
very special day for Mr. Williams, and it is
nice to be here to play not only to
celebrate his long run on television, but to
play a tribute to his service as well."
The final episode of “The Montel Williams
Show,” featuring the Superior Public
Service Award presentation, is scheduled to
air May 16.
(From a Naval Media Center news release.)
Gary Roughead, USN
Kenneth J. Braithwaite II, USN
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