Microsoft Recognized by the Office of Secretary of Defense With Freedom Award

WASHINGTON — Sept. 17, 2009 — Joining 14 other companies from around the country, Microsoft Corp. is being honored in Washington this week by President Barack Obama and Secretary Robert Gates as a top supporter of the National Guard and Reserve. Today, the diverse set of companies, chosen from among a record 3,200 National Guard and Reserve member nominations of employers, will each receive a 2009 Employer Support Freedom Award from the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Robert Youngjohns, president of Microsoft North America, will accept the award for Microsoft during an award ceremony to be held at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center in Washington.

“There is no better way for Microsoft to salute our troops than to help take care of those in our employee family who serve faithfully in the National Guard and Reserve,” said Teresa Carlson, vice president of U.S. Federal Government Division at Microsoft. “We’ve found that our warrior-citizens hold superior skills in leadership, teamwork, discipline and grace under pressure, all of which are essential assets to strong organizations.”

Nominated by Tom Castellano, a technologist in Omaha, Neb., Microsoft was selected as a Freedom Award recipient for the broad support it provides to guardsmen and reservists. Benefits include providing National Guard and Reserve employees with differential pay between their military pay and Microsoft salary during deployments; continuing employee and enrolled family members’ medical and life insurance benefits during deployments; creating a military reservist council responsible for coordinating care packages to deployed employees overseas; providing a life-care guide to deploying service member employees and their families; and recognizing the military service of employees through newsletters, official Microsoft publications and public events.

The Freedom Award was instituted in 1996 under the auspices of the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve to recognize exceptional support from the employer community. The award is the highest recognition created and given by the U.S. government to employers for their outstanding support of their employees who serve in the National Guard and Reserve. It is the highest in a series of employer recognition awards given by the Department of Defense.

Ongoing Commitment

In addition to its recognition at the Freedom Award ceremony this month, Microsoft’s commitment to those serving their country runs deep. Not only does the company provide broad benefits for active-duty military personnel, but several programs are in place to ensure ongoing support:

  • Microsoft has a rich community of Diversity Advisory Councils that are organized and run by employees, including Military Reservists at Microsoft and U.S. Military Veterans at Microsoft. These groups provide support and community for Department of Defense leaders and guests visiting Microsoft, coordinate care packages to Microsoft employees and others assigned to active duty overseas, host tours of the Microsoft campus for the National Guard and Reserve troops on medical hold at Fort Lewis, Wash., and assist soldiers at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in obtaining Microsoft certification. Microsoft has supported other corporations in starting similar affinity groups.

  • To help facilitate job placement for returning American service members, Microsoft is a founding and charter member of the nonprofit group Hire America’s Heroes, with a mission to improve access to private-sector jobs for men and women exiting military service. Microsoft provides annual sponsorship funding and board leadership, and hosts events for the organization.

  • Microsoft is gearing up for this year’s edition of its “A Salute to Our Troops” program, a national program honoring the courage and inspiration of individuals who demonstrate selfless dedication to the United States. The program seeks to inspire others to action and show unified support for our servicemen and servicewomen as well as their families. This year’s “A Salute to Our Troops” program will take place in Washington.

More information on Microsoft’s work with the U.S. federal government and the Department of Defense is available at

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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