Jan. 24, 2012:
By Sgt Christopher Zahn, Marine Corps Base Quantico
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va — The commandant of the Marine Corps decorated 12 Marines for the role they play in the stages of every Marines’ career, from recruiting and training them to preparing them for combat or standing the duty at embassies across the globe.
Six Marines were named Recruiter of Year, Prior Service Recruiter of the Year, Drill Instructor of the Year, Marine Combat Instructor of the Year, Marine Security Guard of the Year and Career Retention Specialist of the Year in a ceremony during the 2011 Commandant of the Marine Corps’ Combined Awards Program at the Clubs of Quantico on Tuesday.
“I look at you [Marines] and say to myself, ‘Holy smokes, no wonder we’re successful on the battlefield and everything else we do. What a great looking bunch of Marines,’” said Gen James Amos, commandant of the Marine Corps. “You represent the 175,000 enlisted Marines across the Corps who spend every day slugging it out around the world.”
This year’s Recruiter of the Year was SSgt Estil Marte, a recruiter for Recruiting Substation Fredericksburg, Va., Recruiting Station Frederick, Md., 4th Marine Corps District. The runner up was SSgt Dedrick Brooks, a recruiter for Recruiting Substation Mansfield, Texas, Recruiting Station Fort Worth, Texas, 8th Marine Corps District.
The Corps top Drill Instructor is GySgt Jimmy Richard, who won for his work training recruits at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif. The runner up is SSgt Charles McAdams, who was a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, S.C.
“It’s unreal,” said Richard, a San Bernardino, Calif., native. “You’re representing all the drill instructors in the Marine Corps, so it’s definitely a high honor, the highest I’ve received in my career.”
The Prior Service Recruiter of the Year is GySgt Tajanna Draher, who was also promoted to that rank during the awards ceremony by the commandant. The runner up is Sgt Scott Chamberlin, a prior service recruiter from 8th Marine Corps District.
“It was amazing,” said Draher, a Albuquerque, N.M., native. “I’ve thought about my future in the Marine Corps before, but never could have imagined that I would be promoted to the rank of [gunnery sergeant] by the commandant of the Marine Corps.”
The Combat Instructor of the Year is SSgt Phillip Castro, from School of Infantry East, Camp Lejeune, N.C. The runner up is Sgt Matthew Johnson, from School of Infantry West, Camp Pendleton, Calif.
The Marine Security Guard of the Year is SSgt Michael Czerniak, who guards the U.S. Embassy in Egypt. The runner up is GySgt Vincent Cruz, who guards the U.S. Embassy in China.
The Career Retention Specialist of the Year is GySgt Robert Jones, who is stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C. The runner up is SSgt Lisa Marshall, also stationed at Camp Lejeune, N.C.