ARPC officer receives first online-processed award

DENVER -- When officials at the Air Reserve Personnel Center launched the latest online personnel capability to Reservists worldwide, they didn't know it would be one of their own that would be first to benefit from it.

Capt. Karrie Bracken, who worked as ARPC's contracting officer from July 1 to Nov. 30, 2006, became the first Air Force Reservist to receive a decoration using ARPC's Web-based awards and decorations function.

"It was really valuable learning more about the Reserve and the program that I'm in," said Captain Bracken of her experience at ARPC. "It was interesting to see where everything happens."

Before the individual mobilization augmentee left ARPC to return to her job as a contracting officer at the Department of Interior in Denver, she was nominated for an Air Force Commendation Medal by her chain of command.

"I had no idea it was going to be the first one," said Col. Jerry Costello, ARPC vice commander. He was responsible for submitting Captain Bracken's nomination package via ARPC's virtual Personnel Center - Guard and Reserve.

"All I had to do was find her name on the list from a search engine," he said. "The system prepopulates everything onto the certificate."

The vPC-GR even added the formal citation wording for the award, which can be a difficult task in preparing a military decoration.

"There are so many various medals - that's probably the hardest part - the different wording used for different medals," Colonel Costello said.

Before ARPC's release of the online awards and decorations process, nominations for decorations were submitted manually - often times hand carried throughout the base.

"(The vPC-GR) made this probably the easiest decoration I've ever had to do," Colonel Costello said. "It's a huge improvement over the old process."

Since the release of the new online process nearly 900 requests have been submitted for awards and decorations.

"From a Reserve standpoint this is really valuable," Colonel Costello said. "Instead of waiting, you could do this from home or a deployed location."