2012 MCA&F C4 Awards Dinner

Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 18:00 to 21:00

The Marine Corps C4 community was shining in the spotlight on Thursday, 19 April, as the Marine Corps Association & Foundation co-hosted the 9th Annual C4 Awards Dinner along with HQMC C4 Division.  The dinner provided the opportunity to recognize the top performing Marines in the C4 community during 2011 and featured LtGen Robert E. Schmidle, Jr., Deputy Commander, U.S. Cyber Command as the guest speaker and awards presenter.

C4 Awards

A no-host social hour and a VIP reception for award recipients, families, award sponsors and General Officers preceded the dinner and awards presentation and provided a convivial atmosphere for camaraderie and interaction.  A quintet provided by the U.S. Marine Band serenaded the dinner guests at the start of the dinner and a color guard detail from Henderson Hall performed the customary presentation of the colors.  Following welcoming remarks by MCA&F President and CEO, MajGen Edward Usher and the invocation, the guests enjoyed a hearty meal of grilled NY strip steak and midway through the dessert course BGen Kevin Nally, Director C4/Information Officer of the Marine Corps took the stage to introduce the guest speaker.

SgtMaj Adam Terry, MCA&F Camp Lejeune Area Rep presiding at Lectern

Marine Band Quintet in action

Color Guard Detail

MajGen Usher welcomes dinner guests

The Chaplain’s invocation

BGen Nally began by thanking the evening’s many sponsors, recognized the attending General Officers and made special recognition of the family of the late LtCol Shea, for whom the C4 unit award is named.  He provided additional recognition of a pair of Montford Point Marine veterans in attendance which elicited a loud and enthusiastic ovation by the dinner guests.  He then went on to praise Marine NCO’s and in particularly Marine Comm Chiefs who all perform phenomenally in a largely thankless task.  He also praised Marine wounded warriors for their courage and attention to duty, indicating that his office had recently hired two of them and that they worked their butts off.  Turning to the introduction of the guest speaker, he pointed out humorously that LtGen Schmidle had a contingent of cyber warriors stealing the audience’s emails and personal information and then announced that he had just been appointed to be the next Deputy Commandant for Aviation.

MajGen Usher with Montford Point Marines, 1stSgt George Kidd and SSgt Charles G. Manuel

BGen Nally introducing the guest speaker

LtGen Schmidle stated that he was honored to be at the dinner and was very grateful to be out of his busy office before 2100.  On the subject of his upcoming assignment as Deputy Commandant for Aviation, he said humorously, that he had been at Cyber Command for over 2 years and, as a result, he had thought that the Commandant had forgotten that he was an aviator rather than a communications officer.

LtGen Schmidle’s address

On the subject of Marine communications he related an anecdote from over 10 years ago where people had predicted that within a couple of years from then that Marines would be calling in fire missions from unmanned mortar positions with laptops and that it was finally starting to happen.  He said that he started off his Marine Corps career not really knowing anything about communications as in his early days, most of the radios in his F-4 aircraft did not really work and that all exercises he had ever been on ended with the universal comment that “We learned a lot but comm sucked.”  Since then, he stated Marine communications have come a very long way and that comm personnel have really learned to be operators.

Relating a story about Cyber Command indicative of the growing respect for Marine C4 personnel, he told of a war game there where each service had its own team and were tasked to attack each other’s websites while defending their own.   He noted that the Marine team was in a flurry of activity throughout the exercise while the other services were less aggressive and that at the conclusion, a vote was taken to determine who won the exercise and all the other teams voted for the Marines as the exercise winners.   He stated that Marines are now admired for their discipline and ability to innovate in the joint world and that the Marine Corps is actively embracing the notion of cyber warfare.  Pointing out that networking is a war fighting platform he said his staff is always working to find ways to attack with cyber assets and that that has a tremendous impact in terms of war fighting rather than just merely a connection.  Put bluntly, he said that Cyber Command sought to break things and hurt people through the imaginative use of cyber assets.  He closed with the assertion that he was proud to be called a “Network Marine!”

After the guest speaker address the following awards were presented onstage with LtGen Schmidle assisting in the presentations:

General Alfred M. Gray Trophy for Outstanding Communications Leadership was presented to Captain Christopher S. Tsirlis.  The award is sponsored by the Marine Corps University Foundation with support from Sprint.

Capt Tsirlis and the Gray Trophy

Gray Trophy

James Hamilton Information Technology Management Civilian Mairne of the Year Award was presented to

Mrs Tonya M. Vannoy.  The Marine Corps Association & Foundation sponsors this award with support from AT&T.

Mrs Tonya Vannoy on stage receiving Hamilton Award

PFC Herbert A. Littleton Staff Noncommissioned Officer Trophy for Operational Communications Excellence was presented to Gunnery Sergeant Ryan E. Evans.  The Littleton awards are sponsored by MCA&F with support from ITT Exelis.

GySgt Evans gets his award from LtGen Schmidle

The Littleton Awards

PFC Herbert A. Littleton Noncommissioned Officer Trophy for Operational Communications Excellence was presented to Sergeant Samuel K. Land

PFC Herbert A Littleton Noncommissioned Officer Trophy for Electronics Maintenance Excellence was presented to Sergeant Zachary R. McClendon.

LtCol Kevin M. Shea Memorial Unit Award was presented to Third Battalion, Second Marines, Communications Platoon. This award is sponsored by MCA&F with support from BAE Systems.

3d Bn, 2d Marines Comm Platoon contingent 

Shea Award presentation onstage

For biographies of the award namesakes and recipients and a video of the event, click on the links below:

Bios (opens in pdf)