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In one of his last moves before leaving office March 13, then-Navy Secretary Donald Winter quietly awarded 19-term Democratic congressman John Murtha (Pa.) with the service's highest civilian honor.
Citing Murtha's "courageous leadership, vision, and loyalty to the men and women of the Department of the Navy," Winter presented the influential chairman of the House Appropriations Committee's defense panel with the Navy's Distinguished Public Service Award, an honor bestowed in "those extraordinary cases where individuals have demonstrated exceptionally outstanding service of substantial and long term benefit to the Navy, Marine Corps, or the Department of the Navy as a whole," a Murtha release stated.
The award generated little publicity when it was given to Murtha in early March, but as news of the honor trickled out, some veterans groups ignited a firestorm of protest.
“We like to say that dependability is more important than ability,” Bill Belichickism....
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