MCA&F Hosts First Wounded Warrior Awards Reception & Ceremony
The Marine Corps Association & Foundation in conjunction with the United States Marine Corps’ Wounded Warrior Regiment hosted the first invitation-only Wounded Warrior Awards Reception & Ceremony on Tuesday, 3 April at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, Virginia. The focus of the event was to recognize the three Marines selected for professional achievement awards by the Wounded Warrior Regiment as well as celebrate the fifth birthday of the Wounded Warrior Regiment.
The reception took place on the second floor of the museum next to the Wounded Warrior Exhibit, with over 150 Marines, sponsors, family members and friends of the Corps in attendance. The occasion was festive in tone and provided an opportunity for social interaction and camaraderie. The awards presented recognized the professional achievements of wounded, ill or injured Marines that exemplified perseverance and drive, as well as those Marines that personified leadership dedication to duty, and tireless support in assisting wounded warriors and their families achieving their goals.
The award recipients honored at the reception included:
Sergeant Than Naing- Recipient of the Wounded Warrior Regiment Wounded, Ill, or Injured Service Member Award (sponsored by Caterpillar). From Myanmar (Burma), Sgt Naing deployed twice to Iraq and was injured by enemy sniper fire during his second tour in 2006. After several months of recovery, he returned to full duty and reenlisted in 2008. In 2010, while conducting vehicle checkpoint security in Afghanistan, Sgt Naing was ambushed and wounded by machinegun fire. Sgt Naing is a two-time Purple Heart recipient and is currently recovering with the Wounded Warrior Battalion-East. His mission now is to get better, and he hopes to get back to the infantry after recovery. After spending time recovering at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, he transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He has gotten involved in swimming and archery. He has won a bronze medal in archery in the Warrior Games trials and will compete in archery and swimming in the upcoming Warrior Games. When asked what inspired him to keep moving forward, Sgt Naing responded “my father.” He stated proudly his father taught him everything, and is his role model. “Every time I get depressed, I would think about my father and the life lessons he has taught me”
Sgt Than Naing and his friend, with MCA&F President and CEO, MajGen Usher, USMC (Ret) and Sponsor Representative of Caterpillar, John Frame
Photo by Ron Lunn
Staff Sergeant Ryan A. Harris- Recipient of the Wounded Warrior Regiment Leadership Award (sponsored by General Electric). SSgt Harris is a native of Kansas City, Kansas, and works as the Unit Transition Coordinator and Platoon Sergeant with the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West, Detachment 29 Palms. He was responsible for the security of over 200 Marines and their families and trained Borrowed Military Manpower (BMM) personnel in critical security procedures at MARFOREUR in Stuggart, Germany before he transferred to support the Wounded Warrior Battalion-West. SSgt Harris helps coordinate the military part of the Marines’ recovery. In his words, “working with wounded warriors is the best and worst job in the Marine Corps.” When asked how he felt about being honored, his response was “I am shocked and honored; it is great to work with these Marines every day.”
SSgt Ryan Harris and friend with MajGen Usher, USMC (Ret) and General Electric representatives.
Photo by Ron Lunn
Shawn Cheney- Recipient of the Wounded Warrior Regiment Civilian of the Year Award (presented by Google). A retired Marine and native of Bellevue, Nebraska, Mr. Cheney is the deputy officer in charge of the Wounded Warrior Detachment at the Naval Medical Center, San Diego. He said his reward over the years has been seeing Marines succeed. When asked how he felt about being honored on Tuesday, humble Cheney simply said, “I am just doing my job.” He went on to say he did not do it alone, but with other’s support, especially from his wife. “I am surprised and I feel unworthy. It’s definitely an honor to be recognized for such an award by an organization like this.”
Mr. Cheney and his wife with MajGen Usher, USMC (Ret) and Google Representative
Photo by Ron Lunn
Prior to the awards ceremony, marking the Wounded Warrior Regiments’ fifth Birthday, guests and the award recipients gathered around Tun Tavern, the authentic replica in the Museum of the Tun Tavern Bar in Philadelphia where the first Marines were recruited in 1775. The “toast” was to Marines that have sacrificed their lives for their country, sacrificed their health or physical soundness, and those that support wounded Marines in their recovery. LtCol Michael Corrado, the unit’s executive officer, thanked the staff of the National Museum of the Marine Corps, and the commitment they made in making the wounded warrior exhibit possible. He also thanked MCA&F President and CEO, MajGen Edward Usher, USMC (Ret), family and friends of wounded Marines, and those that have supported the regiment. LtCol Corrado led the toast, raising his glass to the Wounded Warrior Regiment and stated:
“We have Marines out there who still have that spirit, still have that fire in their eye” that they had when they stood on the yellow footprints at boot camp, But in some cases, they must learn to take that spark and use it in a different way.”
LtCol Michael Corrado, the unit’s executive officer toasting to the Wounded Warrior Regiment
Photo by Ron Lunn
Join MCA&F and help us support the Wounded Warrior Regiment’s “Survive to Thrive” Marines in keeping them thinking like Marines! MCA&F strongly supports Wounded Warriors by providing enrichment programs for wounded Marines. The organization provides libraries of professional books on iPods and Kindles to Marines with impaired vision, or those confined to wheel chairs, to help them with continued professional development. Your support will help our Marines rehabilitate, reset, and fight again!
When you join MCA&F, you will have access to our flagship magazines, Marine Corps Gazette and Leatherneck, to stay informed about issues affecting Marines as well as unfolding Marine Corps history. Through the support of our MCA&F members, and revenue from our retail component, The MARINE Shop and MarineShop.net, MCA&F recognizes deserving Marines, and supports their professional development through another key program, the Marine Excellence Awards Program.
Members receive other benefits including discounts with affinity partners and member value pricing at MCA&F retail locations. You can also support Marines by making a tax-deductible donation to the Foundation here.
Here are a few pictures from the event: photos by Ron Lunn
Award recipients Sgt Naing, SSgt Harris and Mr. Cheney
Representative of Caterpillar, John Frame congratulating Sgt Naing, recipient of the Wounded Warrior Regiment Wounded, Ill or Injured Service Member Award
Marines, family members and friends toasting to wounded warriors
MCA&F President and CEO, MajGen Usher catching up with LtGen Robert Milstead, Deputy Commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs and MajGen Thomas Murray, President, Marine Corps University
Marines, sponsors, award recipients and guests mingling in Tun Tavern
Dessert to Go! MCA&F gave out delicious cupcakes as everyone left the event. The cupcakes were made by Owner of District of Cupcake, Stephanie Coleman, daughter of LtGen Ronald Coleman, USMC (Ret)
LtCol Timothy Maxwell, USMC (Ret), who helped found the Wounded Warriors barracks at Camp Lejeune, N.C raising his glass in the ceremonial toast.