TYLA Officers


Rebekah Steely Brooker, President


Dustin M. Howell, Chair


Sam Houston, Vice President


Baili B. Rhodes, Secretary


John W. Shaw, Treasurer


C. Barrett Thomas, President-elect


Priscilla D. Camacho, Chair-elect


Kristy Blanchard, Immediate Past President

TYLA Directors


Amanda A. Abraham, District 1


Sharesa Y. Alexander, Minority At-Large Director


Raymond J. Baeza, District 14

    Aaron J. Burke, District 5, Place 1

Aaron T. Capps, District 5, Place 2


D. Lance Currie, District 5, Place 3


Laura W. Docker, District 10, Place 1

    Andrew Dornburg, District 21
    John W. Ellis, District 8, Place 2
    Zeke Fortenberry, District 4

Bill Gardner, District 5, Place 4


Morgan L. Gaskin, District 6, Place 5

    Nick Guinn, District 18, Place 1

Adam C. Harden, District 6, Place 6


Amber L. James, District 17


Curtis W. Lucas, District 9

    Rudolph K. Metayer, District 8, Palce 1

Laura Pratt, District 3

    Sally Pretorius, District 8, Place 2

Baili B. Rhodes, District 2


Alex B. Roberts, District 6, Place 3

    Eduardo Romero, District 19
    Michelle P. Scheffler, District 6, Place 2

John W. Shaw, District 10, Place 2

    Nicole Soussan, District 6, Place 4
    L. Brook Stuntebeck, District 11

C. Barrett Thomas, District 15

    Judge Amanda N. Torres, Minority At-Large Director

Shannon Steel White, District 12

    Brandy Wingate Voss, District 13
    Veronica S. Wolfe, District 18, Place 2

Baylor Wortham, District 7

    Alex Yarbrough, District 16


Justice Paul W. Green, Supreme Court Liaison


Jenny Smith, Access To Justice Liaison


Brandon Crisp, ABA YLD District 25 Representative


Travis Patterson, ABA/YLD District 26 Representative


Assistant Dean Jill Nikirk, Law School Liaison


Belashia Wallace, Law Student Liaison


TYLA Office

Tracy Brown, Director of Administration
Bree Trevino, Project Coordinator

Michelle Palacios, Office Manager
General Questions: tyla@texasbar.com

Mailing Address

P.O. Box 12487, Capitol Station
Austin, Texas 78711-2487
(800) 204-2222 ext. 1529
FAX: (512) 427-4117

Street Address

1414 Colorado, 4th Floor
Austin, Texas 78701
(512) 427-1529


Views and opinions expressed in eNews are those of their authors and not necessarily those of the Texas Young Lawyers Association or the State Bar of Texas.





























































ABA YLD Update

Honoring Our Young Military Lawyers
By:  Jobe Rodgers

Each year the ABA/YLD takes the time to honor our Outstanding Young Military Lawyers.  A young lawyer from the JAG Corps of each military branch is selected each year for his or her exceptional service to our country and our communities.  This year’s recipients are awe-inspiring to say the least.  They perform duties from drafting 700 wills for deploying soldiers to serving as turret gunners on patrols.  They ensure the safety of our shores and fight for the safety of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan.  And when they are done, they serve as Godparents to children in Haiti, provide newborn supplies to women in Afghanistan, raise thousands of dollars for schools for disabled children in Japan and adopt underprivileged children at Christmas.   As we recognize these heroes of our time, let us be reminded of what is truly important in life and never forget the service and sacrifice that all of our service men and women, make on a daily basis to ensure our freedom and safety.   –Jobe Rodgers

Captain Kellyann Boehm, United States Air Force

Throughout her career in the Air Force JAG Corps, Captain Kellyann Boehm as demonstrated stellar performance as she outshines her peers in a variety of roles as a military lawyer.   She began her service as a claims officer; overseeing $1.8 million in claims.  As she far exceeded Air Force timeliness goals, she skillfully protected the Air Force from liability while ensuring that valid claimants were fairly compensated.  In this initial assignment at McConnell Air Force base, she also provided oversight for $20 million in new contracts and successfully prosecuted 13 courts-martial.  As if that were not enough, she also assisted in drafting over 700 wills for deploying servicemen.  Captain Boehm also provided legal support for short-notice deployments for 100 airmen with less than 48 hours notice during surge operations. 

While deployed in Iraq, Captain Boehm was appointed as a liaison with the Central Criminal Court of Iraq prosecuting insurgents and terrorists.  She successfully orchestrated hearings and trials involving witnesses who had since returned home by using video streaming technology.  She reduced the backlog by 50% and brought 80% of her cases to hearing within 6 months of capture.   Her efforts helped ensure the safety of Iraqi civilians from violence by 150 detainees.  Captain Boehm served as the face of the Air Force JAG Corps in weekly briefings to the Joint Chiefs of Staff regarding the trials before the CCCI. 
Upon her return to McConnell Air Force base, Captain Boehm offered exceptional legal advice to the 18th Air Force, while caring for the needs of the military personnel on base.  She saved soldiers over $80,000 in legal costs, including $15,000 for one client by confronting a car dealership about its deceptive trade practices. 

Captain Boehm then took a remote tour of duty to Kunsan Air Base, Korea where she served as the Area Defense Counsel.  She aggressively defended over 350 airmen.  Her efforts to zealously represent her client’s interests resulted in unprecedented success.   She quickly became an authority on advocating in front of administrative boards and authored a primer that was distributed throughout the entire defense community.
Now at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Captain Boehm serves as the Chief of Military Justice.  She again has brought unprecedented efficiency to her post while ensuring that justice is served.  She has successfully convened over 70 courts in record time.  She excelled in Contracts and Environmental law, reviewing over 2,600 operation contracts totaling $200 million.  Captain Boehm also tackled a variety of environmental issues and ensured 100% compliance with the Environmental, Safety, and Occupational Health Compliance Assessment and Management Program.  Since the beginning of her career, Captain Boehm has been the go-to person for whatever job may lay at hand.  Her leadership has been incomparable as she organizes and motivates all around her to outperform their peers.

In addition to her service to the Air Force, Captain Boehm tirelessly seeks to make a difference in her community.  She works with churches and civic organizations everywhere she goes to ensure that children and the homeless are cared for.  She often visits orphanages and even spearheaded an effort to adopt 10 children at Christmas to provide them with toys and necessities.  She provides meals to Airmen with newborns and collects donations to send to needy children and their parents both stateside and in Afghanistan.  Captain Boehm is truly a servant of her community, wherever that may be. 

Captain Boehm is the recipient of the Air Force Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster; Joint Service Achievement Medal; Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Meritorious Unit Award with one Oak Leaf Cluster; AF Outstanding Unit award with one Oak Leaf cluster; National Defense Service Medal; Iraq Campaign Medal; Global War on Terrorism Service Medal; Korean Defense Service Medal; AF Overseas Ribbon Short; Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon with Gold Border; AF Longevity Service; AF Training Ribbons; ASC, Command Staff Company Grade Officer (CGO) of the 4th Quarter, 2010; ASC, Wright Patterson CGO of the 4th Quarter, 2010; Outstanding Young Judge Advocate of the Year, Air Mobility Command (AMC), 2007; 22nd Air Refueling Wing Director of Staff CGO of the Year, 2007; Outstanding Contributor for Flight, Top Third Graduate and Flight, Flight winner of General Hinman Award (Academic Excellence), Squadron Officer School; 22nd Air Refueling Wing Director of Staff CGO of the Year, 2006; Outstanding Contributor for Flight, Air and Space Basic Course; and 22nd Air Refueling Wing Director of Staff CGO of the Quarter, 2nd Quarter 2006.

Major Russell Henry, United States Marine Corps

Major Henry has distinguished himself throughout his career with superior performance and total dedication to the Marines and the legal profession.  He has continuously produced results and products of a quality and quantity well beyond what one would expect of an officer of his grade and experience.  Critically, his efforts have produced enduring and positive impacts at every command where he has served.  Major Henry is the total package.  He exemplifies the very best of the Marine officer ranks; he is a well-rounded versatile leader and technical expert.   With an indefatigable work ethic and insatiable pursuit of professional development, he is a proven game changer who is trusted and sought after to independently handle the most complex and sensitive issues.   What distinguishes Major Henry from other highly competent counsel is his unique combination of leadership and legal acumen.  He leads from the front and by example and possesses a rock solid moral compass that inspires and elevates the performance of those around him.  His mature and refined judgment and noteworthy technical expertise across a broad spectrum of complex legal topics makes him an invaluable asset to his commanders.   Those who have had the privilege of serving with Major Henry quickly realize that he is the Marine that you build your team around; he inspires trust and confidence in his seniors, peers and juniors and is sought after for his opinions, analysis and recommendations.  He has been a proven performer across the entire legal spectrum.  His total dedication to duty has reflected great credit upon himself, the legal profession and the United States Marine Corps.

Major Henry began his legal career as a Legal Assistance Attorney at the Joint Law Center, MCAS Cherry Point.  During his tenure, he was quickly thrust into directly supporting Marines, Sailors and families with Legal Assistance.  During this time, Major Henry conducted preventative law briefs, will briefs and produced powers of attorney for the deploying units of 2D Marine Aircraft Wing.  In just four months, he prepared and reviewed over 300 wills and powers of attorney.   In addition to unit support, he provided individualized legal assistance advice and services to approximately 200 service members, retirees, and dependents.    He quickly became the duty expert within the section on family, domestic, and consumer law issues.  His mature, professional and diplomatic demeanor under even the most trying of circumstances ensured that his clients received superior support and advice.

In the winter of 2004, Major Henry was selected for his leadership to deploy in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  What made his selection noteworthy was that this brand new Marine Officer with only a few months in the fleet as a Legal Assistance Attorney was selected to serve at a joint command as the Officer in Charge, Operational Law, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, Detainee Operations, Task Force 134, Multi-National Force-Iraq.   Despite not having an operational background and only a few months in the fleet, he quickly became a key contributor to this critical mission.  During this deployment, he was hand-selected to serve as the legal representative to the theater wide assessment team responsible for inspecting all detention facilities throughout Iraq.   He was personally involved in this very sensitive and high profile inspection process to ensure that detention facilities were in full compliance with international law and MNF-I policy.  These inspections were critical, when only months earlier the United States had acknowledged abuses at Abu Ghraib.  Major Henry was not only a key component of the assessment team, he also enhanced the training of each Detention Facility Judge Advocate, further increasing their efficiency in processing detainee files and building relationships with the major subordinate commands (MSC).  During this deployment, he sponsored 22 seminars in which key MSC legal POCs were briefed on the overall big picture of detainee operations from detainee case file preparation to eventual adjudication.  He also authored many significant portions of the Theater Detainee Operations SOP and developed a training program which led to a 30 percent reduction in overall expedited releases and a 40 percent increase in successful prosecutions at the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI). These efforts were critical in supporting efforts to rebuild the U.S. image in the domestic and international community that had been severely tarnished as a result of detainee abuse scandals.  Major Henry created, and actively participated in, a program where task force personnel would accompany capturing units on raids to assist in the detainee operations at point of capture.  He also served as a turret gunner on twenty Personal Security Detachment missions for the Deputy Commanding General, Detainee Operations, MNF-I.  Additionally, he prepared and briefed over 300 detainee case files to the Combined Review and Release Board (CRRB), a panel that determined whether further detention of each security detainee was warranted which consisted of three senior Coalition officers and six representatives from the Iraqi Ministries of Justice, Interior, and Human Rights.  In addition to his significant legal contributions, he continued to be a Marine leader and ensured the well-being and development of his office with a vibrant physical training program which ensured that morale and fitness were maintained even in the most arduous conditions. 

Upon returning from deployment, Major Henry was assigned to the Military Justice Section and served as Chief Trial Counsel.  He represented the government and successfully adjudicated over 130 cases and provided timely, accurate and sage legal counsel to over thirty squadron and group commanders on numerous time sensitive and complex legal issues.  His counsel was sought on the entire gamut of military justice matters, to include search and seizure, pre-trial restraint, mental competency exams, charging, case disposition, and pre-trial agreements. During this tour, Major Henry was competitively selected to attend the resident Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS) in Quantico, Virginia.

Following EWS, Major Henry was selected to stay in Quantico for the summer to serve as a staff member at Officer Candidates School (OCS).  He was assigned to Bravo Company where he served as platoon commander of Bravo Company, 1st Platoon.  During this assignment, he successfully educated, trained, screened, mentored, and evaluated all officer candidates in his platoon, and supervised and ensured the well-being of his three Drill Instructors.  In addition to his normal duties, he effectively led numerous platoon commander discussions on topics such as basic Marine Corps doctrine, leadership, and physical fitness.  He also took the time to mentor all law contract candidates on service as a judge advocate.  Major Henry provided the highest example to his platoon staff and candidates of what it means to be an officer in the Marine Corps and the importance of leading from the front and by example.  His high ethical standards and moral courage were evident throughout the demanding training cycle.  He provided fair and firm leadership to his platoon which ensured that the service was getting candidates that would be successful Marine Officers.  In this non-legal billet, Major Henry proved to be a highly proficient and versatile trainer, sought after mentor and spot on evaluator.   Not surprisingly, he was ranked as the number one platoon commander in the company by the Battalion Commander.  

Following OCS, Major Henry received orders to U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command (MARSOC) after being, by name, requested by the command.  Major Henry was assigned primary duties as the Assistant Staff Judge Advocate and Operational Law Attorney.   He aggressively consumed any and all resources to make himself an expert in special operations.  In addition to being required to learn a plethora of new terminology and issues associated with legal support for special operations missions, he was also required to learn the entire spectrum of traditional legal issues associated with OSJA support for a Marine Forces Command with assigned forces.  In addition to his assigned duties, he, on numerous occasions, was required to fleet up to serve as the Deputy Staff Judge Advocate and also served as the Staff Judge Advocate.  His performance in these billets was stellar. 

Major Henry quickly earned the trust and confidence of commanders and Marines and always provided them with insightful, mature counsel that always considered the second and third order effects.  His counsel ensured commanders were fully armed with advice that made their decisions fully informed and carefully considered and balanced risk.  During this tour, Major Henry again proved himself to be a highly effective and dynamic trainer who was able to communicate complex issues in an easily understandable fashion for senior and junior Marines.  Specific accomplishments include the development of a comprehensive operational legal training program that was fully integrated into operational exercises for deploying MARSOF units.  This advanced training has been recognized as instrumental in developing operators thoroughly versed in Law of Armed Conflict (LOAC) issues and possessing a highly refined ability to make use of force decisions.   During this time, he supported five separate RAVEN exercises (a two to three week deployment certification exercise for deploying companies) at Fort Irwin, CA by crafting complex legal scenarios into the exercise, observing the exercise, and providing immediate feedback.  He also served as an adjunct professor at the Marine Special Operations School teaching numerous classes to newly selected MARSOF operators in the Individual Training Course (ITC) on the Laws of Armed Conflict, Rules of Engagement (ROE), Rules for the Use of Force, and Human Rights.  He also drafted the ROE and prepared and presented a Human Rights/ROE class for DERNA BRIDGE, the culminating exercise for ITC.  He provided pre-deployment legal briefs to approx 1,000 deploying MARSOC Marines and Sailors serving various missions all around the globe.  He also served the OSJA representative providing fiscal law advice on numerous proposed Official Representation Funds (ORF) expenditures.  Additionally, though only a Captain at the time, Major Henry served as the MARSOC SJA for 6 weeks and as the DSJA for 9 months. 

In June 2010, Major Henry deployed to western Afghanistan where he began a ten-month deployment as the Legal Advisor to the only Marine-led Special Operations Task Force (SOTF) operating in Afghanistan.  The SOTF’s area of operations (AO), which comprises roughly a third of Afghanistan, is quite dynamic and diverse in terms of Special Operations Forces units, battle-space owners, and terrain.  The SOTF commands and controls Marine Special Operations Companies (MSOCs), Marine Special Operations Teams (MSOTs), US Army Special Forces Operational Detachment- Alphas (ODAs), and SEAL units, along with conventional Army infantry and logistics detachments.   Major Henry personally briefed all these units on the laws of armed conflict, ROE, in-country guidance/directives, civilian casualty events/allegations, escalation of force, fires approval process, reporting requirements, and detainee operations.  Many of these briefs required Major Henry to travel to remote combat out-posts.  His in-depth understanding of SOF culture and the personalities in the individual units allowed him to tailor each brief to achieve maximum impact.  Most in-country briefs were termed as “refresher briefs” to ensure all units were current on all relevant documents/guidance/FRAGOs in this rapidly changing environment as the units had already received some legal training.  Some units, however, came to Afghanistan without any Afghan-specific operational law training.  Major Henry spent many hours with both of these commands ensuring that they received above and beyond all necessary training and were set-up for success in this complex and highly kinetic environment.  Perhaps Major Henry’s most critical role during this deployment was the timely, accurate operational law advice he provided to the commander and staff during the numerous troops in contact (TIC) situations encountered by the SOTF’s subordinate units.  It became evident early in the deployment that Major Henry had earned the trust of the command and he was regularly sought for his input regarding the legality of the use of fires.  TICs are a daily occurrence for the SOTF and it is not rare for there to be multiple TICs at the same time.  The SOTF is responsible for command and control of all MSOTs/ODAs/SEAL Platoons while conducting operations and Major Henry’s cool head, instant analysis, and deep concern for the troops on the ground helped navigate the commander and staff through some incredibly complex scenarios.  He added significant value to the entire battle staff with his ability to quickly guide them during these compressed decision-making cycles, when time is at a premium, though his in-depth knowledge and understanding of the LOAC, ROE, targeting authorities/directives, tactical directives, applicable FRAGOs, Battle Damage Assessment, Positive Identifications, Hostile Act/Hostile Intent, and Collateral Damage Estimates.  In addition to training and providing real-time operational legal advice/guidance to the SOTF Commander, his staff and the tactical SOF units, Major Henry also made significant contributions in the fields of detainee operations (served as detainee operations OIC and tracked over 60 detainees from capture to transfer or release), investigations (provided legal advice to over 35 investigations), reporting (drafted or reviewed over 600 reports and post-mission products), fiscal law (provided a legal review of over 250 CERP projects), legal assistance (over 60 clients served), and military justice.  Understanding the importance of relationships with others located in the AO, Major Henry made it a point to reach out to his various counterparts at the RC and BSO levels as well as with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  His efforts paid off tremendously during issues regarding support to OEF forces by ISAF elements.  Through his understanding of command relationships and his pre-established contacts, he was able to head-off these issues ensuring SOTF personnel received the support necessary to accomplish their missions.  Furthermore, he hosted four separate visits with various ICRC personnel throughout the AO, so there was a pre-existing relationship to fall back on should any crisis occur that brings ICRC involvement.  Within the SOTF, he is known as a steady, reliable performer who can always be counted on for legal expertise regarding all issues with a legal nexus; perhaps more telling, he is often approached for guidance on issues that are outside the legal field.  He has proven himself not only as a competent attorney, but as a solid, well-rounded Marine Corps Officer.  On numerous occasions throughout the deployment, his counsel has been sought by key leaders from various MSOTs, ODAs, and the SEALs on an assortment of operational law issues, both pre- and post-mission, because they have confidence not only in his legal knowledge but his ability to work with them to find solutions to their issues.

He is a member, and regular attendee when not deployed, of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, NC.  His outside activities have been somewhat restricted as he is a new father and has been deployed or TAD for extensive periods of time.  As a law student and lieutenant in the USMCR, Major Henry served as President, Student Bar Association; Chairman, Council of Presidents; President, Christian Legal Society; was a member of the Bench and Bar Honor Society; and earned the Dean’s Community Service Award.  He is also the author of an article in the Marine Corps Gazette entitled “Prosecuting Civilian Contractor.”

Major Henry is the recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and the NATO/ISAF Medal .

Lieutenant Eric Nelson, United States Navy

Throughout his career, LT Nelson has offered exceptional legal support for hundreds of Sailors, families and retired personnel.  As the Legal Assistance and Defense Counsel at the Naval Legal Service Office, he assisted hundreds of Sailors, families and retired personnel with premier legal service.   After just two years of service in the JAGC, LT Nelson volunteered for deployment to support the war effort in Iraq.  He initially served at the Joint Operations Center at Multi-National Corps-Iraq, providing review of thousands of mission plans, strike packages and attack requests for compliance with the Rules of Engagement, Law of War and other U.S. and international law.  As a result of his exceptional performance, LT Nelson was selected as the Staff Judge Advocate’s Chief of Current Operations where he oversaw a staff providing legal analysis and operational products for the entire Iraqi theater.

Since July 2009, LT Nelson has served as trial counsel at the Regional Legal Service Office Japan.   He has shown his expertise in the successful prosecution of the vast majority of sexual assault, child sexual assault and child pornography cases.   His unrelenting efforts were also instrumental in securing positive outcomes in a series of complex cash card cases where he conducted an extensive investigation, working closely with several banks and contending with missing evidence and contradictory testimony from the convening authority’s disbursing office.  He is tirelessly committed to ensuring the rights of victims while balancing the neutrality needed to see that justice is done.
While in Japan, on March 11, 2011, LT Nelson was again given an enormous responsibility in assisting the Department of Defense’s response to the tsunami and nuclear crisis.  He became the single point contact and administrator to ensure that all RLSO personnel were sent to their chosen safe havens amid the voluntary departure of all eligible family members.  Within three days, LT Nelson was able to secure orders, air transportation and evacuation benefits for all such family members subject to the departure. 

Being dedicated to his church and community, LT Nelson takes every opportunity to teach and counsel students and young people.  As the president of the Japanese Community Legal Association, he oversaw efforts to raise more than $2,000 for a local Japanese school for the disabled.  His efforts have been indispensable in maintaining relations with the Japanese community.

LT Nelson has been the recipient of the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal (2), Joint Meritorious Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal (2 Campaign stars), GWOT Service Medal, Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, Navy Marksman Rifle (S) and Navy Marksman Pistol (S). 

Captain Joseph Strawn, United States Army

Captain Joseph Strawn began his legal career in the Army’s Legal Assistance Program.  He assisted soldiers, family, and retired personnel in a variety of issues facing them day to day.  He was instrumental to a soldier and his wife as she was admitted to hospice care in her final days of suffering from terminal cancer.  His support of this family was invaluable through the hardest days of their lives.  Because of his extraordinary care, he was soon promoted to the Chief of Claims Division and oversaw the assistance of applicants in recovery of damages to their property and dealing with the stress of living in the military community. 

After just one year of service, Captain Strawn was asked to serve as the Command Judge Advocate for the 43rd Area Support Group in Kuwait.  He performed admirably in a role where he was absent in guiding senior mentors. 
Captain Strawn then showed his great strengths as a trial attorney as a Trial Counsel in Fort Carson and Fort Riley.  He successfully prosecuted some of the most serious cases, including a large-scale cocaine distribution network, a child sexual assault, a murder, and numerous other sexual assaults and child pornography cases.  His performance was such that he was designated as a part-time magistrate serving under the senior circuit judge. His performance in these tasks has proven Captain Strawn to be one of the premier criminal law practitioners in the Army JAG Corps.

After displaying his wisdom and maturity in his prior assignments, Captain Strawn was assigned as the legal observer/controller and trainer for transition teams deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan.  The 1st Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade was given the assignment of training all transition teams deploying to both Middle East Theaters and Captain Strawn was the Army JAG Corps point man in training them for the complexities of operating in such intense conflicts. 

During deployment to Iraq he was appointed as the 1st Infantry Division’s Chief of the Rule of Law where he completely reshaped the rule of law effort in southern Iraq.  He worked closely with the Department of Justice and the Department of State in developing crime labs, teaching the use of forensic evidence, and establishing court houses.  He spent the majority of his time traveling to visit with judges and ministerial leaders to implement the Commanding General’s vision for promoting the rule of law in Iraq.

Captain Strawn has been the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal and the Army Achievement Medal.

Lieutenant Dorothy Hernaez, United States Coast Guard

After only two years in the legal program, LT Dorothy Hernaez is widely acclaimed within Washington interagency circles a national expert on all maritime enforcement issues, including counterdrug, migrant, and fisheries.  She has proven to be invaluable in providing real-time legal support to Coast Guard operations worldwide. 

LT Hernaez was given charge in efforts to establish a legal framework to support ongoing join patrol efforts with west-African nations in support of African Maritime Law Enforcement Partnership.  Through her efforts, the Coast Guard was able to achieve short term operational agreements for patrolling key strategic locations.  She also used her influence to negotiate a long term cooperative relationship with Morocco for maritime law enforcement.

In Panama, LT Hernaez played a key role in efforts to establish standard operating procedures for high value operations.  She was able to facilitate an agreement between the Department of Justice and Panamanian authorities.  This also led to her being a facilitator in a bilateral relationship with Mexico for maritime law enforcement operations.

Again, the Joint Interagency Task Force South employed LT Hernaez’s knowledge, skill and tenacity in reworking agreements that now allow the use of Canadian vessels along with Coast Guard law enforcement teams in drug interdiction in the Caribbean Sea.  The result of her work is a tremendous force multiplier where resources are constrained. 

LT Hernaez is also instrumental in the Maritime Operational Threat Response process.  She has successfully served as a facilitator in a multitude of drug interdiction and immigration cases.  She oversaw very delicate situation with the Chinese government in a drug smuggling case.  She also was instrumental in providing legal advice to the Coast Guard in reuniting an unaccompanied 14 year old Cuban girl with her family in the United States.

Further influencing international relations, LT oversaw the renewal process for a Declaration of National Emergency supporting the Coast Guard’s Unauthorized Entry into Cuban Territorial Seas, which is vital enforcement against those who engage in provocative conduct toward the United States from within Cuban territorial