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Prominent Sea Service Veterans with Lone Sailor Award

8/23/2010, 6:14 p.m.

Bill Cosby, Former Redskin Ed LeBaron, and First African-American Navy Sonar Technician Lanier Phillips
to to be recognized for service to Country and Community

Navy veteran and entertainer Bill Cosby, World War II Marine Corps veteran and former football player for both the Washington Redskins and the Dallas Cowboys Eddie LeBaron, and first African-American Navy sonar technician and survivor of the 1942 USS Truxton (DD-229) Lanier Phillips will be honored for their service to country and community at the United States Navy Memorial's 2010 "Lone Sailor" Awards Dinner on Wednesday, September 15. The black tie gala will be held at The National Building Museum, 401 F. Street, NW, Washington, D.C.

The Lone Sailor Award is given to Sea Service veterans who have excelled with distinction in their respective civilian careers while exemplifying the Navy core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. In receiving the Lone Sailor Award, Cosby, LeBaron and Phillips join an impressive list of men and women who have distinguished themselves by drawing upon their military experience to become successful.

"Our honorees are living examples of how service to country changes lives and helps develop leaders - whether it be in the world of sports, politics, government, the private sector or the arts," said Rear Adm. Edward K. Walker, Jr., SC, USN (Ret.), President and CEO of the United States Navy Memorial. "The common theme they all express is that their public service has given them a solid foundation for their careers and instilled in them the enduring values that propels them to continue to 'serve' their communities."

William Henry "Bill" Cosby, Jr.'s Navy service was inspired by his father, a Navy man who served during World War II. He followed in his father's footsteps and joined as a Hospital Corpsman, working in physical therapy with seriously injured Korean War veterans. He served a total of four years with assignments to the Marine Corps Base, Quantico, Virginia; Naval Station Argentina; Newfoundland and at the Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland.

He first received national exposure as a comedian on "The Tonight Show" in 1963 and then went on to star in the popular adventure spy series "I Spy," his own "The Bill Cosby Show," the children's show "Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids," and the landmark situation comedy "The Cosby Show" - which portrayed an upper middle class African-American family much like his own. The series was lauded for its family-friendly programming, which was a response to the increasingly violent and sexually suggestive content that was becoming prevalent on television.

He is a tireless advocate for the value of education and personal responsibility and holds a doctorate in education from the University of Massachusetts. He is the recipient of the 2009 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, the 2003 Bob Hope Humanitarian Award, the 2002 Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the 1998 Kennedy Center Honors. He is married to the former Camille Hanks and is the father of four children (his fifth child, Ennis, was killed in 1997). He lives in Los Angeles.

Edward Wayne LeBaron, Jr. served as a Marine Corps lieutenant in the Korean War and won the Bronze Star for his heroic actions in combat and two Purple Hearts for injuries sustained in the conflict. Before his military service, he earned All-American honors in an undefeated season on the University of the Pacific's football team, and was drafted by the Washington Redskins upon separation from the Marine Corps. In his seven seasons with the Redskins, he started as quarterback for 55 out of a possible 72 games.

He was also the primary punter for his first three seasons in D.C. As the Dallas Cowboys was expanding their roster, they chose LeBaron to play on their flourishing team, and he acted as the starting quarterback for three seasons. He was selected for the Pro Bowl four times in 1955, 1958 and 1962. He later became a football announcer for CBS Sports and practiced law after his football career, having pursued a law degree during the off-seasons.

LeBaron acted as the general manager of the Atlanta Falcons from 1977-1982 and the executive vice president from 1983-1985. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. He lives in Sacramento.

Lanier Phillips was one of the few survivors of a shipwreck off the coast of Newfoundland during World War II. His ship, USS Truxton, and another ship, USS Pollux, ran aground during a fierce storm, drowning 203 sailors. He was rescued and cared for by the townspeople of St. Lawrence, Newfoundland. Having grown up black in the segregated south, he was surprised at the kindness and generosity of the people of St. Lawrence.

It was a life-changing experience for him, one that made him determined to initiate change in his own country. He continued his career in the Navy, and became the first African-American Navy sonar technician in 1957. After retirement from the Navy, he worked for EG&G ad and the ALVIN deepwater submersible team in groundbreaking underwater research. He also marched with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Selma, Alabama. He lives in the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, D.C.

Conveniently located on Pennsylvania Avenue - halfway between the White House and the Capitol, the United States Navy Memorial provides a living tribute to Navy people and a place for them to gather and celebrate their service. The outdoor plaza features a "Granite Sea" map of the world, towering masts with signal flags, fountain pools and waterfalls and The Lone Sailor statue. Adjacent to the plaza is the Naval Heritage Center, where visitors can find educational displays about the contributions of the men and women of the Sea Services (Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine).

Also housed in the Naval Heritage Center is the Navy Log - the online place for Navy people to stay connected with each other, celebrate their service and preserve the memories of their service. There, Navy veterans can build a record of their service online and anyone with a passion for the Navy can create and join affinity communities. Call (202) 737-2300 or visit www.navymemorial.org for more information.

For more information on the U.S. Navy Memorial's 2010 Lone Sailor Awards Dinner - including sponsorship and ticket prices, or for a list of award recipients, go to the Navy Memorial's web site at www.navymemorial.org, or contact Taylor Kiland, Vice President of Marketing and Communications, at (202) 380-0718 or tkiland@navymemorial.org.

To arrange an interview or to access images of the awardees, contact the Publicists for the U.S. Navy Memorial, Christina Miller at (703) 417-2702 or Christina@lindarothpr.com or Jessica Zachar at (703) 417-2702 or jessica@lindarothpr.com.