The Marine Corps Association & Foundation presented awards to the top graduates of The Basic School’s (TBS) Echo Company at Little Hall on Marine Corps Base Quantico Jan. 29, 2014.
The award winners at Echo Company are 2dLt Jason L. Stewart, recipient of the Lejeune Leadership Award and the 1stLt Baldomero Lopez Honor Graduate Award; 2dLt Casey H. Kinders, recipient of the Col William B. Lemly Award for Academics; 2dLt Dillon Pierce, recipient of the Military Skills Award; and 2dLt Calixte Defay, winner of the Writing Award.
The tragedy on 9/11 inspired 2dLt Stewart to enlist in the Marine Corps. He entered the fleet as a 0311 Marine Rifleman and later spent time on special-duty assignment such as a drill instructor at Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, Calif. After serving nine years as an enlisted Marine, he decided to become an officer through the Marine Corps Enlisted Commissioning Education Program.
“I think that after being enlisted I had an idea of how the Marine Corps operates and what was to be expected from me,” 2dLt Stewart said. “I try to treat everyone fairly and do the right thing in accordance with the mission.”
In April 2010, 2dLt Casey Kinders completed his first contract in the Marine Corps. During his separation interview he was informed of an opportunity to serve as an officer. He chose to reenlist and continue the Marine Corps lineage in his family—his father and uncle both served time in the Corps. With a degree in mechanical engineering from the Milwaukee School of Engineering already under his belt, he entered the Platoon Leaders Class.
“During my first contract I was able to see good examples of Marines in the Marine Corps. It gave me an idea of who to mold myself after,” said 2dLt Kinders.
Recognition is given to the TBS candidates who have excelled throughout training. Sometime during this course Marines are assigned their military occupational specialty. After completing training, they attend their MOS schools throughout the United States.
- Tina Valentine
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