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Congratulations TBS Honor Graduates
The Marine Corps Association & Foundation presented five awards to honor graduates from The Basic School during the Delta Company graduation at Marine Corps Base Quantico Little Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 30.
MCA&F sponsors the honor graduate awards for each TBS Company, as well as awards for many enlisted and officer training schools.
Congratulations to 2dLt Thomas Patterson for earning the 1stLt Baldomero Lopez Honor Graduate Award, 2dLt Joseph Roberts for the Military Skills Award, 2dLt Jake Lunsford for the Military Skills Award and the Colonel William B. Lemly Award for Academics and 2dLt Walter Graves for the Mitchell Paige Medal of Honor Mustang Spirit Award.
The TBS honor graduate awards are presented through the MCA&F Marine Excellence Awards program. Each year MCA&F gives awards to recognize nearly 11,000 deserving Marines and provides about 97 percent of all awards distributed in the Corps outside the USMC awards system. The program offers tangible recognition of professional accomplishments and recognizes the honor graduates throughout the Marine Corps officer and enlisted formal schools.
The 1stLt Baldomero Lopez Honor Graduate Award – 2dLt Thomas Patterson
2dLt Thomas Patterson, recipient of the 1stLt Baldomero Lopez Honor Graduate Award, is pictured with Marine Corps Gazette Editor Col John Keenan, USMC (Ret) at right and Commanding Officer of The Basic School Col Todd S. Desgrosseilliers at left.
Photo Credit by Ron Lunn.
2dLt Thomas Patterson is a native of Tucson, Arizona and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona. He was in Echo Company’s fourth platoon and his Sergeant Platoon Commander (SPC) was Capt Fallon.
Patterson said he was “surprised” to find out he had secured the honor grad spot.
“I knew I was towards the top of the class but had no idea that I would come out first,” Patterson said.
He said “versatility” and a diverse skill set helped him succeed at TBS. The most challenging and rewarding experience for Patterson during TBS was serving as the Company Executive Officer (XO) during the weeklong war, the final exercise of the instructional period.
“I also felt the awesome power and capability of a Marine rifle company in combat,” Patterson said. “I truly felt the burden of command as each decision played out during the exercise. Overall, it was an extremely humbling and rewarding experience. It definitely helped me grow as a Marine Corps officer.”
The namesake honor graduate award is in remembrance of 1stLt Baldomero Lopez’s actions during the amphibious assault of Inchon during the Korean War in 1950. When he was leading his Marines over the seawall, he was shot in the chest while holding a live grenade. Without the strength to throw it, he cradled the grenade to protect his Marines from the explosion.
“Remembering our history and traditions is extremely important to us as a Marine Corps and sets us apart from the other services,” Patterson said. “Honoring the memory of those that came before us guides our path and strengthens our resolve to face and eliminate problems that we encounter today. We as Marines learn from our fore bearers and draw strength from their deeds in combat and I believe that namesake awards are an excellent way to reinforce our storied history.”
Patterson will attend the Infantry Officer Course starting March 28 for 13 weeks.
Patterson said he is not currently a member of the Marine Corps Association & Foundation but plans to join soon because of the “incredible support” MCA&F provides for the Marine Corps. He said he looks forward to subscribing to the Corps’ professional journal, the Marine Corps Gazette.
“The association facilitates the mission of the Marine Corps whenever it is able, and Marines should be proud to support an organization with that goal as its priority,” Patterson said.
Military Skills Award – 2dLt Joseph Roberts
2dLt Joseph Roberts, recipient of the Military Skills Award, is pictured with with Marine Corps Gazette Editor Col John Keenan, USMC (Ret) at right and Commanding Officer of The Basic School Col Todd S. Desgrosseilliers at left.
Photo credit by Ron Lunn.
2dLt Joseph Roberts is a native of Longmont, Colorado and earned his bachelor’s degree from the United States Naval Academy. He was in Echo Company’s second platoon and his SPC was Capt Bumgardner.
A competitive edge contributed to Roberts’ success in the military skills category at TBS.
“There were always Marines around me during TBS who I thought were doing better than I was, so I just kept pushing myself to keep up with them,” Roberts said. “I came into TBS with the mindset that it was going to be a long six months but that I needed to push myself constantly, so that's what I did.”
Roberts said when he felt he couldn’t push harder, he relied on the encouragement and support from his friends and his wife, Colby Roberts.
Roberts’ most challenging exercise during TBS was being on the company staff during the war. The leadership demanded “non-stop” responsibility but was an incredible learning experience.
“It really gave me a clearer picture in my head of the role of a MAGTF officer,” Roberts said.
After TBS graduation, Roberts reported to Pensacola, Florida to pursue flight training as a student naval aviator. He hopes to fly an aircraft that he can assist his fellow Marines on the ground through possibly casualty evacuations for close air support.
Roberts said he plans on becoming a member of the Marine Corps Association & Foundation soon and enjoys reading both the Marine Corps Gazette and the Leatherneck.
“As a history major I enjoy both publications, but Leatherneck really stands out as a great resource for digging deeper into Marine Corps history,” Roberts said. “It's important to know our heritage so we can keep our Marine Corps healthy and ready today.”
Roberts said MCA&F is an important organization to connect the greater Corps, from active duty to retired. It keeps all Marines, no matter age or rank, updated with Corps news and needs.
“The Marine Corps Association is our link to each other. We say, ‘there is no such thing as an ex Marine,’ and the MCA is a big part of what keeps that statement true,” Roberts said. “The MCA joins Marines from different generations, active and retired, enlisted and officer and allows us to learn from each other. The Marine Corps must be an evolving, learning organization which stays grounded with the same core values and heritage; the MCA accomplishes this mission.”
Military Skills Award and the Colonel William B. Lemly Award for Academics - 2dLt Jake Lunsford
2dLt Jake Lunsford is a native of Royston, Georgia and earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia. He was in Echo Company’s second platoon and his SPC was Capt Bumgardner.
Lunsford said he is excited to start the 12-week Infantry Officer Course because infantry is “what the Marine Corps revolves around.”
To achieve the academic award, Lunsford said he put a lot of effort into studying. The tests were important to him because it wasn’t just about getting a high grade but was about understanding and retaining the information for his infantry career.
Although he spent a lot of time working on his academic scores and military skills, it wasn’t easy being away from his family. Lunsford and his wife Lauren have a 2-year-old son named Husdon and a newborn named Sawyer.
“The most challenging aspect was having to work late almost every day and missing out on seeing my son because of the long hours,” Lunsford said. “The most rewarding aspect is being able to lead a Marine provisional rifle platoon.”
Lunsford said namesake awards such as his Colonel William B. Lemly Award for Academics are important to honor Corps history.
“I think the honoring of namesake awards is important because it follows the spirit of tradition that makes the Marine Corps better than everything else,” Lunsford said. “We know where we came from, it gives us pride in our organization. For the awards to follow the same path is only appropriate.”
Lunsford has been a member of the Marine Corps Association & Foundation for one year and subscribes to the professional journal.
“I read the Gazette because it gives me a broader perspective on issues that I generally only see the small end of,” Lunsford said. “It keeps me professionally attuned to the climate in which we operate.”
To support Marines and encourage the existence of these MCA&F programs, please participate in our Special 100th Anniversary Campaign. The three-tier donation levels recognize our donors by name in the April editions of Leatherneck and Marine Corps Gazette magazines celebrating the association’s centennial. All contributions are tax-deductible and directly touch the lives of thousands of Marines each year.
Click HERE to visit the donation page and make a contribution today.
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