William and Mary Law School

1st Lt. Laura L. Richmond '08 Awarded Meritorius Service Medal

1st Lt. Laura L. Richmond ’08, who is attending law school at William & Mary under the Air Force Funded Legal Education Program, recently received the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of her exemplary performance as tour director of the Air Force’s Tops In Blue entertainment unit. The ceremony was held in the Law School’s McGlothlin Courtroom on February 15.

The medal citation was read by Marine Corps Capt. Chris C. Johnson ’06, president of the law students’ Military Law Society. The citation noted that Richmond’s “outstanding leadership, and personal sacrifice exemplified Air Force core values and were critical factors in the success of Tops In Blue 2004 and 2005.” According to the citation, under her direction Tops In Blue entertained more than 400,000 Air Force members and their families around the world. The citation also noted that Richmond “steered her team through hostile locations in support of Operations Joint Guardian, Iraqi Freedom, and Enduring Freedom.”

Chancellor Professor of Law Fredric I. Lederer, a retired Army colonel, served as master of ceremonies. He began on a sober note reminding those assembled that there were a number of people in the audience who had “been deployed in difficult capacities or had seen combat.” The medal ceremony, he said, had special resonance because it not only honored “one of our own” but also underlined “the critical importance of those who are often defined as the ‘support establishment,’” but who often face the same kinds of risks as soldiers on the front lines.

Law School Dean Taylor Reveley detailed Richmond’s many accomplishments, including, for example, her numerous awards as a vocalist and as an Air Force officer.

Richmond earned her bachelor’s degree in music from East Texas Baptist University, where she received honors such as, for example, the School of Music’s Outstanding Student Award and Top Graduate of the Class of 1998. She taught in school music programs in the U.S. and Germany prior to entering Officer Training School in 2002. After earning her commission as a second lieutenant, Richmond was assigned to the 86th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron at Ramstein AB, Germany, where she earned the Air Force Commendation Medal. In 2004, she placed second in the Air Force Worldwide Talent Competition’s female vocalist category and was selected to join the Tops In Blue unit. During her tenure as the unit’s tour director, she was responsible for a team of 31 “expeditionary entertainers” who gave more than 140 performances around the world.