SMC Civilian Wins USSF’s 2020 Outstanding DoD Employee with a Disability Award

  • Published
  • By Madlyn Washington
  • SMC Public Affairs

Bruce Charest, systems engineer for Production Corps at the Space and Missile Systems Center, won  U.S. Space Force’s 2020 Outstanding Award for Department of Defense Employee with a Disability and will competing at the Air Force level in October.

Charest has made significant contributions working in the Production Corps by using his engineering expertise to resolve critical technical security issues every day. His ability using various security test data, from military user equipment receivers, ensured accuracy and sustainability without compromising the integrity of the ground safety activity.

This engineer uses hearing aids to compensate for his hearing impairment. He started his career at SMC as a journeyman engineer working in the Global Positioning Systems Directorate. He was assigned to Global Positioning Engineering and supported the Requirements, Engineering Operations, and the Program Protection Office. Due to the realignment of the SMC programs, he is now a Systems Engineer assigned to the Production Corps Engineering Division still supporting Security Engineer functions and now supports other systems engineer functions, such as Systems Safety, as needed.  In his spare time, he volunteers working with Packing for Patriots, a program designed to send packages of goodies and personal items to soldiers who are deployed.   He participated in SMC’s 100th year celebration of Fort MacArthur (the geographically-separated base housing area)   by manning a booth at the parade grounds.

Since 1981, DoD recognizes an employee as part of its observance of National Disability Employment Awareness Month. These awards honor the accomplishments of civilian employees and service members with disabilities who have made significant contributions to the department’s mission and best demonstrate the core values of their respective DoD components.

When asked how it feels to win the 2020 U.S. Space Force’s Outstanding Award for DoD Employee with Disabilities, he said, “I am surprised to hear that I was considered and entered into the competition. The person who made that possible for me was Mr. Cordell DeLaPena, program executive officer for Space Production, Space and Missile Systems Center. He believed in me and appreciated the contributions I have made to the Corps.”

Charest is the first to receive 2020 Outstanding DoD Employee with Disability award under the new U.S. Space Force.   This award also reaffirms Los Angeles Air Force Base’s commitment to recruiting, retaining, and advancing individuals with disabilities in the workforce while acknowledging the undeniable contributions of individuals with disabilities to our nation.