As we look back on the Fourth of July, our country’s Independence Day, many may be surprised to know we work with a highly-decorated sailor. That’s right, Lila Deakle, Probate Clerk for Parker County Clerk Jeane Brunson, is a retired 24 year veteran from the United States Navy who has earned the prestigious Defense Meritorious Service Medal and was honored as the 1995 Command Sailor Of The Year.
Lila is in her third year of employment with Parker County. She is known as a hard worker who is fun loving and a joy to work with. She is not one to brag about her accomplishments, according to her boss.
“I was surprised when I learned of the prestigious medal Lila received for her service in the Navy,” Brunson said. “I continue to be impressed with her ability to conduct business in a professional manner, her great sense of humor and the humble, yet honorable, manner in which she continues to serve. She is an asset to the County Clerk’s office as well as all of Parker County.”
A native of Saint Elmo, Alabama and after promising her mother, an Army Veteran, that she would not join the Army, she followed in her father’s footsteps and enlisted in the Navy in 1981. After completion of boot camp and Yeoman “A” School in Meridian, Miss., she reported to her first duty station, Attack Squadron 45, NAS in Key West, Fla.
Upon completion of her initial USN obligation, she enlisted into the Training and Administration Program and was assigned to Naval Reserve Readiness Command Region Eight. Tours included Patrol Squadron 62 NAS Jacksonville, Fla., where she earned her Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist pin and completed several deployments to Spain, Puerto Rico and Germany to name a few.
Chief Petty Officer Deakle’s aforementioned Defense Meritorious Service Medal is the third-highest award bestowed upon members of the U.S. Military by the Department of Defense. The medal is awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense to members of the Armed Forces who, while serving in a joint activity, distinguish themselves by non-combat outstanding achievement or meritorious service.
“I earned this medal in conjunction with work I did at Headquarters United States European Command with Operation Joint Guard and Joint Endeavor, which were operations in support of the missions in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” she said. “Next to being a Chief Petty Officer this medal is one of my proudest achievements during my time in the Navy.”
In addition, she was awarded the Navy Commendation Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achievement Medal, Joint Meritorious Unit Award, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy Good Conduct Award, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Award, Coast Guard Special Operations Service Award, Navy Recruiting Service Award, Armed Forces Reserve Medal and the Navy Pistol Marksmanship Award.
Deakle said her No. 1 joy from being in the military was the opportunity to serve her country and that she would encourage any young person to serve their country in any capacity they can, although she is partial to the United States Navy. Not being one to brag she had kept her military accomplishments to herself amongst her fellow county employees.
“I have had my shadow box in my office for two and a half years,” she said. “I have been able to fly under the radar until the keen eye of Nic Harper who is a new attorney working in John Westhoff’s office. He was a Captain in the Marine Corps and he spotted my medal and mentioned it to John Westhoff who in turn told [County Judge Mark Riley] which led to this story. The rest is history. I don’t want to sound like some kind of war hero because I am not. I simply got the people where they needed to be and it is difficult to talk about it because once I got them there, not all of them came back.”