Gung-Ho Training Award - USMC OCS

The Marine Corps Association & Foundation sponsors the OCS Gung-Ho Award through the association’s Marine Excellence Awards Program. Each year MCA&F gives awards to recognize more than 10,000 deserving Marines and is the largest contributor of awards...

Officer Candidate School can be tough training, said Candidate Rahsan Johnson, but keeping a positive outlook can make all the difference. 

That’s why he tries to push through the difficulty and exhaustion to lead by example.

“That’s just my demeanor and I come in and bring the heat 110 percent every day,” Johnson said. “If you have a bad day everybody in the platoon can feel defeated with their head down but I try to keep morale high and everyone happy and the effect is so candidates don’t get complacent.”

Johnson’s peers in Echo Company, OCS recognized that motivated attitude during training and voted him the Gung-Ho Award. Candidate Ryan Montgomery from Golf Company also received the Gung-Ho Award for Golf Company.

The Marine Corps Association & Foundation sponsors the OCS Gung-Ho Award through the association’s Marine Excellence Awards Program. Each year MCA&F gives awards to recognize more than 10,000 deserving Marines and is the largest contributor of awards given to Marines.  

“It’s very important to show (the candidates) we still recognize when they go above and beyond because that’s what we’re looking for,” said OCS Drill Master GySgt Hill. “They want to succeed and do more than what we ask of them.”

MCA&F Quantico Area Representative SgtMaj Kevin S. Bennett, USMC (Ret) presented the awards during the graduation ceremony on Saturday, 18 Aug.

“The award process is vital for these youngsters because they need to understand from the beginning that if they work their tail off for ten weeks they will be recognized as the best of the best,” Bennett said.

Other MCA&F OCS awards are a wristwatch for the Phil Yeckel Award as the candidate with the highest overall average and a set of tailored dress blues from The MARINE Shop for the Major Harry Elms Award as the candidate with the highest overall average with prior enlisted service.

The MCA&F awards the OCS Honor Graduate for the highest overall performance average. Candidate Natalie Smith from Golf Company scored a 96.53 GPA during the six-week training and earned her spot as top candidate and company commander during the graduation ceremony.

“It’s a nice pat on the back,” Smith said. “Awards are important because it’s the Marine Corps philosophy of discipline in private and reward in public.”

Candidate Heath Gomez from Echo Company was recognized for the MCA&F Leadership Award. He said it wasn’t something he was initially aiming for, but hopefully high standards and awards create a goal for future incoming candidates. 

“We don’t do it for the awards, we’re just doing our best but it’s great to set an example,” Gomez said.

In addition to the awards dedicated to Marine Officer Candidates, the MCA&F also recognizes five Battalion Awards for OCS staff including Drill Instructor of the Cycle, Corpsman of the Cycle, Instructor of the Cycle, Physical Training Instructor of the Cycle and the Eagle Award.

The Drill Instructor of the Cycle recipients were GySgt Nicholas M Romer from Echo Company, Sgt Paul Bribiesca from Golf Company and SSgt Marvin K Walker from India Company. The Instructor of the Cycle recipient was SSgt Dominic A. Easton. The Physical Training Instructor of the Cycle recipient is Sgt Brett Y. Nelson. The Corpsman of the Cycle recipients were HM2 Jefferey M. Baker from Echo Company, HN Isaac Castellanos from Gold Company and HM2 Amethyst Persechino from India Company.

The Eagle Award is earned by the junior Marine who exemplified esprit de corps and devotion to duty on a daily basis behind the scenes and the recipient is LCpl Philip S. Jimenez.