2012 MCA&F Intelligence Awards Dinner
The Second Annual Intelligence Awards Dinner was hosted by the Marine Corps Association & Foundation in coordination with the HQMC Intelligence Directorate on Friday, 21 September 2012 at the Crystal Gateway Marriott hotel in Arlington, Virginia. The dinner served as the opportunity to recognize the professional achievements of the top performing officer, SNCO, NCO, enlisted and Marine unit in the intelligence field during 2011 and involved the introduction of a new award – the Director of Intelligence Innovation Award. General James F. Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps, performed guest speaker duties and participated onstage in the award presentations along with BGen Vincent Stewart, Marine Director of Intelligence.
General James F. Amos
The event started around 1800 with a no-host reception for the general public along with a VIP reception for the award recipients and their families. The dinner began with a musical serenade by The President’s Own Marine Band and a traditional presentation and retirement of the colors presented by a color guard detachment from Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. MCA&F’s Quantico Area Representative, SgtMaj Kevin Bennett, USMC (Ret) presided over the initial ceremonial activities and then introduced MCA&F President and CEO, MajGen Edward Usher, USMC (Ret).
Color Guard Ceremony
MajGen Usher welcomed the guests, acknowledged the evening’s sponsors and also acknowledged the family members of the evening’s namesake awards who were in attendance. He then invited the Chaplain of the Marine Corps, Rear Admiral Margaret Kibben, USN, onstage to deliver the invocation before the guests started dinner.
MajGen Ed Usher
As the dessert course was being enjoyed, BGen Vincent Stewart, the Director of Intelligence for the Marine Corps took the stage to introduce the guest speaker. During his welcoming remarks, he singled out LtGen George Flynn who was in attendance as being a particularly big fan and supporter of the Intel community and mentioned that he gets very emotional when talking about Intel folks – the men and women who toil continuously, locked away in back rooms where few see their tremendous work. He said he was incredibly proud of them and that they are a tremendously capable group of people. After thanking the industry partners who sponsored the dinner, he introduced General James F. Amos, the guest speaker.
BGen Vincent Stewart
General Amos took the stage and immediately apologized for having had to change the dinner date to a Friday night and that he was very mindful of the limited free time Marines had for their families. He quipped that he was surprised to see the audience in attendance “did not have a life” which amused the dinner guests.
Remarking on people in the audience, he singled out MCA&F President, MajGen Edward Usher and Gen Joe Dunford as kindred spirits who had been with him to cross the border into Iraq during the war. He singled out MajGen Usher and SgtMaj Bennett and thanked MCA&F for their support and then joked that he wanted a discount on General officer uniforms at the Marine Shop.
Guest Speaker Presentation
Beginning his remarks, he joked that “he can’t talk about intel – because he would have to kill you” and then produced a very thick document that was his speech. He said he was going to read every bit of it unless audience would applaud to signal him not to read it. After thunderous applause he stated that his wife had applauded the loudest.
Turning to serious matters he stated that he wanted to talk about where we have come in the intel field. Looking back he mentioned LtGen Paul Van Ripper who had a tremendous impact on the field years ago when he recognized that the Marine Corps needed to do something proactive in the intel community in order to improve capabilities and performance. The result of Van Ripper’s efforts led to increased assets and resources for the intel community leading commanders in the war in 2003 to actually conduct intel driven operations. In an anecdote about the drive up to Baghdad during the war, he pointed out that the ACMC (Gen Joe Dunford) was then the commanding officer of 5th Marines and was trying to get into Baghdad but wanted to avoid the multitude of heavy Iraqi troop concentrations facing them. Utilizing the intel assets and UAV’s available, 5th Marines “went were they were not.” Further, he pointed out that when he was a Wing commander, he was able to push UAV squadrons down to the Regimental level to aid intel driven operations and influence the battle for our success. Moving on to the impact of the Marine Radio Battalions, he stated that the new systems available were able to provide detailed, integrated intelligence of considerable usefulness.
Talking about the war effort in Afghanistan, General Amos stated that slices of intel assets were pushed down to the lowest level possible and that effort paid off. By way of example he mentioned the insurgent infested city of Marjah where integrated intel prep of the battlefield greatly contributed to the improvement of the situation there. The stabilization of the town resulting from the intel driven pacification efforts led to paved streets and street lighting where there had been none and helped bring much needed prosperity to an area that had been depressed and devastated by strife for decades. On the strength of this success and continuing intel driven efforts, General Amos predicted that all of war torn Helmand province will follow and end up looking like Al Anbar province in Iraq after strong intelligence picture there led to its pacification and economic development.
Stating that, thanks to the talent of today’s intel Marines, operators are getting fused intel that is making sense and is effectively actionable and that their input was never more important. General Amos concluded his presentation with a brief story about Captain Brent Morrel, USMC, an intel Marine who had been ambushed south of Fallujah and who took a pair of vehicles to flanking positions to suppress the ambush and launch an assault. Stating that Captain Morrel was the only Marine intel officer to be awarded the Navy Cross, he then launched the evening’s awards ceremony.
The following awards were presented at the event:
- LtCol Michael D. Kuszewski Award for Outstanding Marine Corps Intelligence Officer was presented to Major Jason R. Johnston
Major Jason Johnston with Award
- Master Gunnery Sergeant Samuel C. Plott Staff NCO of the Year Award was presented to Master Sergeant William S. Benedict
Sgt William Benedict Receiving Plott Award
- Master Sergeant Charles C. Arndt NCO of the Year Award was awarded to Corporal Raymond H. Lindsey
Cpl Raymond Lindsey with Arndt Award
- Lance Corporal James E. Swain Enlisted Marine of the Year Award was presented to Corporal Lauren A. Kohis
Cpl Lauren Kohis on Stage with Swain Award
- Mr. John J. Guenther Intelligence Civilian of the Year Award was presented to Mr. David S. Mercer
Intel Civilian of the Year – Mr David Mercer
- The Director of Intelligence Innovation Award was presented to Corporal Benjamin C. Arechiga
Cpl Benjamin Arechiga Receiving DIRINT Innovation Award
- The Director of Intelligence Unit of the Year Award was awarded to 3d Intelligence Battalion
3d Intelligence Battalion Representatives Accept Unit of the Year Award
Click HERE to view a video (coming soon) of the event and HERE to read biographies of the Commandant, award recipients and award namesakes.