Golden Eagle Awards Dinner

March 7, 2018  l  Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Bethesda, MD

Online registration for the Golden Eagle Dinner is closed.   However, you can still attend.  Please send an e-mail to Kelly Dawson,, if you would like to attend.  Please alert her if you will be bringing a guest.

The 2018 Golden Eagle Awards Dinner is a black-tie event that includes a reception, three-course dinner and presentation of the Golden Eagle Awards.

For a complete list of previous SAME Golden Eagle Award recipients and a history of the award click here.

2018 Golden Eagle Award Winners



Gen. Craig McKinley, USAF (Ret.)

Golden Eagle Award for Contributions to National Security

Gen. Craig McKinley, USAF (Ret.), was appointed National Chair of Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) by Secretary of Defense James Mattis on June 1, 2017. As National Chair, Gen. McKinley leads ESGR, a Department of Defense program, in its mission of facilitating and promoting a cooperative culture of employer support for National Guard and Reserve service. ESGR operates through a network of more than 4,000 volunteers throughout 54 committees located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam-Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Gen. McKinley retired from the U.S. Air Force after 38 years in November 2012 as a four-star general. His last assignment was Chief of the National Guard Bureau, where he also served as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In this capacity, he was a military adviser to the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council. He also was the Defense Department’s official channel of communication to governors and state adjutants general on all matters pertaining to the National Guard.

During his Air Force career, he served in numerous assignments in flying and operations, as well as command positions at group, wing, sector, and field operating agency levels. Gen. McKinley was a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours, primarily in the T-38, F-106, F-16, and F-15. Following his military service, Gen. McKinley served as President of the Air Force Association and President & CEO of the National Defense Industrial Association. He received his commission in 1974 as a distinguished graduate of the ROTC program at Southern Methodist University, where he earned a bachelor’s in Business Administration. He later received a master’s degree in Management and Economics, at Webster College in St. Louis, in 1979. He completed studies at the National War College, National Defense University in 1995, earning a degree in National Security Management. Gen. McKinley currently serves on several board of directors, among them Analytic Services Inc.; Guardian Center; National Guard Youth Foundation; Our Military Kids Foundation; K-9s for Warriors; Vaughn College; U.S. Air Force Academy Falcon Foundation; and Aspen Institute’s National Commission on Social, Emotional, and Academic Development.


2018 Golden Eagle Award Winners


Edward Gibson

Col. Edward Gibson, F.SAME, USA (Ret.)

Golden Eagle Award for Contributions to the Engineering Profession

Col. Ed Gibson, F.SAME, USA (Ret.), a veteran of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, has for more than two decades led 21 Delta Search, a non-profit job network that has helped hundreds of engineers grow their resume and find positions upon their transition from the military. Col. Gibson began his military career in 1943, when he joined the U.S. Navy. He served onboard the USS August during the invasion of Southern France. He spent 21 months in the occupation of Japan following World War II. He enlisted in the Army in 1948 and following officer candidate training in 1949, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. His initial assignment was with the 307th Airborne Engineer Battalion at Fort Bragg, where he commanded Charlie Company prior to his departure to Korea. he also commanded Charlie Company of the 65th Engineer Battalion (Combat), 25th Infantry Division.

Col. Gibson held a variety of combat engineer command and staff positions culminating in his assignment to lead the 65th Engineer Combat Battalion (Divisional), 25th Infantry Division, in Vietnam from December 1968 to December 1969. His first tour in Vietnam was as a Maintenance Officer with Military Assistance Command-Vietnam. After his second tour, he commanded the U.S. Army Engineer Center Brigade at Fort Belvoir for two years prior to his retirement in 1972. Col. Gibson's staff assignments included serving as Deputy Chief of Military Personnel, Office of the Chief of Engineers, from 1966 to 1968. He would later become Chief of Military Personnel when the position was civilianized, an assignment he would hold from 1979 to 1992. It was during this period that Col. Gibson laid the foundation for what would eventually turn into 21 Delta Search, as he would help enlisted, officers and civilians who were leaving the service find positions he knew they were qualified for. Col. Gibson retired from Federal Civil Service in March 1992. He was awarded the Exceptional Civil Service Award and the Silver de Fleury Medal upon his retirement. In 2004, he was bestowed the Gold de Fleury Medal.