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Groton - Mass Communication Specialist First Class Jason Perry received the USO's prestigious George Van Cleave Military Leadership Award at the 51st USO Armed Forces Gala and Gold Medal Dinner in New York City on Dec. 13.
The USO selects one service member from each military branch annually to receive the award for exceptional service, sacrifice and achievement. Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Jonathan Greenert congratulated Perry and presented the award. Perry is the deputy public affairs officer at Submarine Group Two.
"It's a huge honor. I'm still amazed I was the one who was selected as the honoree," Perry said. "It's very humbling. I was honestly just doing my job."
Perry served in Ramadi, Iraq, from 2009 to 2010 with SEAL Teams One and Two and Naval Special Warfare Group One while attached to Special Operations Task Force West. He helped develop a television program that showed the most-wanted terrorists, which aided in several arrests. He also administered first aid after an IED attack on Dec. 13, 2009, so the wounded could be transported from the scene.
Service members are typically recognized for outstanding leadership later in their careers.
"It definitely gives me a little bit more pride in my step to know that I'm doing a good job," Perry said.
Perry said receiving the award has helped him realize the importance of recognizing others for their good work. In the future, he said he plans to let the people who work for him know they're valuable.
"You've got to pay it forward," he said.