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Two U.S. officers receive British honors

Jacqueline M. Hames

British ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald presents the award, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, to Lt. Col. Sven Erichsen Oct. 28, 2008 during a ceremony at the British Embassy in Washington. Erichsen received the honorary award for his leadership and for the evolution of British defense, chemical, biological and radiological, while on exchange in the U.K., Brittish Embassy

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 29, 2008) --

The award "Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire" was bestowed on two U.S. Army lieutenant colonels during a ceremony at the British Embassy Oct. 29.

Lt. Col. Jordan Chroman, who currently serves with the Army's Chief of Legislative Liaison, and Lt. Col. Sven C. Erichsen of the G-3/5/7 Force Management Office became honorary OBEs when British ambassador Sir Nigel Sheinwald presented the awards. Both U.S. officers had served as exchange officers in the United Kingdom, and the awards were presented for their contributions to the British military.

"This is an important moment for the embassy," Sheinwald said, "Because it's our chance to give proper recognition to ... people who have given great public service to our country."

The Order was established in 1917 and is awarded mainly to civilians and military personnel for public service or other distinctions and has a military and a civil division, according to the embassy's Web site. Ranks in the Order include Knight or Dame Grand Cross, Knight or Dame Commander, Commander, Officer, and Member. Because Erichsen and Chroman are not British citizens, the award is honorary. Instead of being addressed as "Sir," they are allowed to put "OBE" at the end of their names to indicate their award.

Chroman received the award for his dedicated service to the U.K.'s military logistics capability while working with the Defense Storage and Distribution Agency, Sheinwald said. Chroman helped to develop a key future capability for theater use, a system called Priming Equipment Packs, which will rapidly deploy material into theater in support of high-tempo operations.

The system will need to store and transport everything a brigade of 1,500 to 2,000 troops will require to establish itself in theater, Sheinwald said, and must be "precisely packed" for ready-use. The system is made up of about 900 containers that could cover roughly the area of a football field.

Chroman was also "instrumental in the roll-out of agency support in Northern Ireland," Sheinwald said.

"The operational effectiveness of our Defense Storage and Distribution Agency instigated by Lt. Col. Chroman is a shining beacon to all in the British logistics service," he said.

"I was really surprised and very humbled to have been nominated, let alone be presented with this fantastic award," Chroman said.

"As one of my British Army teammates would have said, 'I was simply gobsmacked!' It's such a tremendous honor and I'm so grateful to be recognized in such a fashion," he said.

Erichsen was made an honorary OBE for his leadership and for the evolution of British defense, chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear, while on exchange in the U.K., Sheinwald said. Erichsen commanded a training support group and was responsible for the development of concepts and doctrine and training and evaluation of field force units. He developed, for the first time in Britain, a multi-national CBRN battalion.

"Lt. Col. Erichsen applied his consummate leadership and diplomacy skills to inspire enthusiasm amongst trainers, planners and evaluators, earning the esteem of numerous international conservers," Sheinwald said.

"It is quite an honor to receive this award today," Erichsen said, adding that the award was the result of a team effort involving "some very talented people that worked with me."

"It's a gesture that is very much appreciated," he said.

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