Story by: Terence B. Hoey, CPP, PSP, FEMA RII, Law Enforcement Liaison
FEMA Region II and the FBI New York Field Office sponsored a guest speaker event at the Jacob Javits Federal Building in New York City on May 31. The guest speaker was Command Master Chief (SEAL) Britt K. Slabinski, USN of Naval Special Warfare Group TWO. Master Chief Slabinski, a former Naval Special Warfare Development Group (SEAL Team SIX) member, is one of the most qualified and highly decorated members of the U.S. Navy SEAL community. A recipient of the NAVY CROSS, our Nation’s second highest award for valor in combat, then - Senior Chief Slabinski received the award for his valorous actions on March 3 and 4, 2002 atop a 10,240 foot mountain named Takur Ghar (aka Roberts Ridge) in Afghanistan. His citation reads in part, “Senior Chief Slabinski exhibited classic grace under fire in steadfastly leading the intrepid rescue operation, saving the lives of his wounded men and setting the conditions for the ultimate vanquishing of the enemy and the seizing of Takur Ghar. By his heroic display of decisive and tenacious leadership, unyielding courage in the face of constant enemy fire, and utmost devotion to duty, Senior Chief Slabinski reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”
The event commenced promptly with a rendition of the National Anthem by James Wheeler of the Department of Justice. Wheeler, a classical trained singer, has performed the National Anthem at events around the country. Wheeler said, “This was an absolute high honor to sing our National Anthem in the presence of Master Chief Slabinski.” Opening remarks were provided by the Senior Law Enforcement Advisor to the FEMA Administrator, Roberto Hylton and the Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI New York Field Office, Janice Fedarcyk. Hylton said, “His efforts and that of his fellow warriors have safeguarded our Homeland against a brutal and determined enemy. He and his teammates have restored confidence in our citizens by applying their skills against evil forces determined to destroy our way of life.” Fedarcyk said, “Time and again Master Chief Slabinski displayed superior traits of leadership, showed courage in the face of hostility, and demonstrated loyalty to his men. We reflect today not only on his sacrifices and contributions, but on the contributions made by all men and women of the United States Military.”
Master Chief Slabinski spoke about his defining moment as a leader (on Takur Ghar) as well as theattributes and characteristics of sound leadership. He provided a rare and unique look into the world of Special Operations and the direct impact he has seen over the years as a SEAL Team operator and senior leader, and relating his experiences to Homeland Secuirty efforts. Finally, he provided several interesting and seldom-heard vignettes about Osama Bin Laden and his ultimate demise.
Fedarcyk presented Master Chief Slabinski with the FBI award for “Exceptional Service in the Public Interest” and Hyton presented a FEMA Region II “Certificate of Appreciation.” They also presented Master Chief Slabinski with FEMA and FBI challenge coins.This special event was attended by 200 senior leaders, agency heads, representatives from law enforcment, intelligence, and emergency management communities, private sector partners, and friends of Master Chief Slabinski. The success of this event demonstrates the productive and close-working relationship between FEMA Region II and FBI New York Field Office, one which contributes greatly to Homeland Security efforts in the region and beyond.