The Coughlin Courage Award

Each year Protect Our Defenders presents the Coughlin Courage Award to an advocate or survivor of military sexual assault who has shown special courage. The award is named for Paula Coughlin, the unstoppable former naval aviator survivor who unmasked the military’s sexual assault crisis in 1992, revealing the Tailhook scandal in the national press.

To nominate a survivor or advocate for the next Coughlin Courage Award, please contact us. The POD board considers all suggestions and makes its selection annually in November. See also: the POD Justice Award, a separate award given to attorneys working especially hard on behalf of assault survivors.

Coughlin Courage Award Recipients

2020 – Survivor Terri J. Odom

A US Navy veteran, Terri received the inaugural Coughlin Courage Award for her decades-long work to help survivors like herself, with a special emphasis on LGBT survivors. Watch a video about Terri’s experience.

Photo: Protect Our Defenders Executive Chair Nancy Parrish presents the 2020 award to Terri via a video chat due to the Covid pandemic.



2021 – Survivor Amy Marsh

A US Air Force spouse, Amy received the Coughlin Courage Award for her role bringing to light the ongoing failures of the military justice system in her stirring public testimony before the US Senate Armed Services Committee (video).

Photo: Paula Coughlin and Protect Our Defenders President Don Christensen present the 2021 award to Amy Marsh.