Paula Pedene joined the U.S. Navy in order to serve her country and obtain her college degree.
Paula’s road to veterans support came by way of her service in the U.S. Navy and her 30-year federal career with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
US Navy Journalist Paula (LeClaire) Pedene worked tirelessly as an undesignated seaman to earn a Navy Journalist’s rating. After creating the first base newspaper for the Naval Facility Bermuda, she was recommended to attend both Journalism A School and Broadcast Journalism C School. Upon graduation, she became a member of the Armed Forces Television Service. Her duty stations included Navy Broadcasting Detachment 27 on Midway Island and at the Far East Network in Tokyo, Japan. She was selected to become the first female television co-anchor for the internationally broadcast TV show called Navy News This Week, stationed at Anacostia Naval Station in Washington DC. In this capacity, she covered numerous compelling stories, including:
- The Deep Submergence Laboratory team at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution return to the Titanic wreck site to conduct test dives as part of the continuing development of the lab’s Argo/Jason imaging system, designed for scientific missions to explore and photograph the deep seafloor.
- When training equipment and healthy diets became part of the submarine culture, she compiled a series promoting health and wellness for submariners on deployment.
- Special events and ship commissioning, including one at the Pentagon, as part of the personal entourage covering the event and meeting with several admirals, including Arleigh Burke, Elmo Zumwalt, and others.
- Covering George Bush’s (41) induction into the Naval Aviation display at the Smithsonian.
- Compiling stories on numerous legislative issues on the hill impacting Navy sailors.
While in the Navy, she earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Radio, Television, and Film from the University of Maryland University College. She received her associate’s degree in Journalism from the Los Angeles Metropolitan College overseas.
Pedene left active duty and later joined the Navy Reserves in support of Operation Desert Storm. During this time, she also served as a freelance reporter for COX Broadcasting and the nationally televised PBS Show For Veterans Only. After working as a correspondent in Washington DC, she converted her journalism skills into a public relations counselor for the Department of Veterans Affairs. In 1994, she became the first full-time Public Affairs Officer at the Phoenix VA Health Care System.
As the VA Public Affairs Officer, Pedene was instrumental in the launch of the Maricopa County StandDown and creating the Phoenix (VA) Veterans Day Parade. The nonprofit Honoring America’s Veterans now produces the Parade. She founded the Veterans Medical Leadership Council, a nonprofit that raises millions of dollars in donations for veterans’ supportive services.
She currently serves as the Executive Director of Honoring America’s Veterans. Here she represents this nonprofit to bolster the honor, recognition, and gratitude we pay to our veterans for their service to our country.
Additionally, she writes the weekly “Veterans Voice” column for the Arizona Republic, shared with 400,000 subscribers.
Paula Pedene has continually fought for excellent health care for our Nation’s veterans throughout her career and has been a tireless advocate for their needs.
Her military service medals and ribbons include the Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal with Bronze Star, National Defense Service Medal, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon, Cold War Commemorative Medal, U.S. Navy Service Commemorative Medal, Honorable Service Commemorative Medal and US Navy Reserve Commemorative Medal.