John “Jack” Shimkus of Hope Valley, a Correctional Officer with the Rhode Island Department of Corrections since June of 1991, is one of five members of the Rhode Island Army National Guard’s 173rd Infantry Detachment to be presented with a Bronze Star Medal for service in Iraq between January and November of 2005. The medals were presented at the Quonset Officers’ Club in North Kingstown on Saturday, March 31st.
Officer Shimkus has been with the RIDOC since June of 1991 and works the day shift at the Intake Service Center. He was recognized for having personally led over 40 long-range surveillance missions, most of which were conducted autonomously of any other coalition forces. According to the Rhode Island National Guard’s press release, “Officer Shimkus and his unit handled multiple instances of enemy contact and he never failed to return to base with all of his men, weapons, and equipment.” The release goes on, “SSG Shimkus led a massive reconnaissance effort into the Thar Thar Lake region, an area which had not been previously visited by coalition forces.”
The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to members of the military who, while serving in or with the military, distinguish themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement or service while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States. It is the ninth highest military award when presented for meritorious service.
“Not only are we extremely proud of Officer Shimkus for his outstanding service as one of our finest and most dedicated Correctional Officers, ” says RIDOC’s Director A.T. Wall, “but also for his brave and selfless service to our country.”
There are currently 69 RIDOC employees who serve in the military and five who are deployed.