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Florida Native Honored As Bureau Of Diplomatic Security Employee Of The Year

Press Statement
Washington, DC
November 6, 2009


Bureau of Diplomatic Security

State Department Special Agent Awarded for Superior Achievements

Fort Walton Beach, Florida native Fred Ketchem, has been named the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security 2008 Employee of the Year.

Supervisory Special Agent Ketchem, 51, was honored by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for his superior achievements as Senior Deputy Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. The awards ceremony was held on November 5, at the U.S. Department of State, Harry S Truman Building, in Washington D.C. Ketchem received a certificate signed by the Secretary and $10,000.

After the ceremony, Ketchem remarked: “I was fortunate to be a vital member of a critical U.S. foreign policy initiative. Under the leadership of the Senior Regional Security Officer, my team had the unique opportunity to make decisions we believe helped to save lives. Our work was substantial and contributed to the goals of the United States. I witnessed heroism from our agents and it was an honor for me to lead this team.”

From March 2008 to January 2009, Ketchem helped manage all security programs and investigations on behalf of the U.S. Department of State in Baghdad -- site of the largest U.S. Embassy in the world. Ketchem supervised a security staff of nearly 3,500 employees – including more than 80 Diplomatic Security Special Agents – and oversaw a budget of almost one billion dollars.

He frequently briefed officials at the highest levels of the U.S. Government on complex security issues, liaised with foreign security representatives and made life-saving improvements at Embassy Baghdad and the Regional Embassy Offices in Basrah, Erbil, Hillah, and Tallil. Ketchem showed tremendous leadership and courage under fire in a war zone beset by more than 26,000 attacks during his tenure. His vision, executive stewardship, and solid mentorship helped ensure a safe and secure operating environment for U.S. diplomacy in a war zone. In 2008, Ketchem received the Department's Group Award for Heroism for his valorous actions in Iraq.

Ketchem’s manager in Baghdad, Senior Regional Security Officer Mark Hipp, said, “The level of protection maintained by Special Agent Ketchem and his team is a testament to his superior management of our security programs. It’s particularly noteworthy given the Embassy staff’s exposure to rockets, improvised explosive devices, small arms fire, grenades, and surface to air missiles.”

Ketchem is the son of Fred and Shareen Ketchem of Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He earned his Bachelor of Arts and Masters Degrees from the University of West Florida in 1983 and 1986, respectively.

In 1988, Ketchem started working as a special agent for the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security. He began his service in the Washington Field Office. Since then, Ketchem has worked for Diplomatic Security in more than sixty countries, including stints as the Regional Security Officer in Brasilia, Brazil; Quito, Ecuador; and Baku, Azerbaijan and as an Assistant Regional Security Officer in Lima, Peru. Ketchem also served as the assistant special agent in charge of Diplomatic Security’s Houston Field Office.

Currently, Ketchem is the special agent in charge of Secretary Clinton’s Protective Detail. In this role, Ketchem oversees security for the Secretary everywhere she travels in the world, working closely with other federal, state, local, and foreign security and law enforcement organizations to ensure that the Secretary of State is able to carry out American foreign policy safely and securely.

The “DS Employee of the Year” award is presented in recognition of outstanding contributions by an employee in the security field.

State Dept Image/Nov 05, 2009/Washington, D.C.Date: 11/05/2009 Location: Washington, D.C. Description: Diplomatic Security Special Agent Fred Ketchem (2nd from left) is congratulated November 7, 2009 by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton (2nd from right) on receiving the Bureau of Diplomatic Security 2008 Employee of the Year award for his performance in Baghdad. Also shown are his father, Fred Ketchem Sr. (left) and mother, Shareen Ketchem (right). (U.S. Department of State Photo). © State Dept Image
(Left to Right) Fred Ketchem Sr., Special Agent Fred Ketchem, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Shareen Ketchem after the awards ceremony (Source: U.S. Department of State).

Sarah Rosetti
November 6, 2009
Ph: 571.345.2507
Fax: 571.345.2527

 The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State’s law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of 285 U.S. diplomatic missions around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. In 2008, DS participated in 2,487 arrests globally, primarily for passport and visa fraud, including 586 arrests overseas in cooperation with foreign police. Read more in the U.S. Department of State’s Visa and Passport Security Strategic Plan at: Additional information about the U.S. Department of State and the Bureau of Diplomatic Security may be obtained at

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