MCA&F Marine Excellence Awards Program

The Marine Corps Association & Foundation’s Marine Excellence Awards Program recognizes the professional achievements of Marines and sailors serving with Marines, with special emphasis on recognizing the honor graduates throughout the Marine Corps of...

The Marine Corps Association & Foundation’s Marine Excellence Awards Program recognizes the professional achievements of Marines and sailors serving with Marines, with special emphasis on recognizing the honor graduates throughout the Marine Corps officer and enlisted formal schools and leadership courses. Through the program, which offers tangible recognition of professional accomplishments outside of the Marine Corps’ official awards system, and serves as an incentive for Marines to excel. MCA&F has provided more than 9,000 awards annually over the last three years, with 10,613 being distributed in 2011.

MCA&F’s Marine Excellence Awards Program recognizes and sponsors awards to ALL Marines in five categories.

  • Marine Corps Level Awards
  • Academic Awards
  • Commissioning Awards
  • Recruit Training Regiment Awards
  • Recurring Individual Awards


Herbert A. Littleton Award

Marine Corps Level Awards:

The MCA&F is the largest private contributor of awards for Marines, with the Marine Corps Level awards being the most prestigious. The professional association currently hosts five professional awards banquets, throughout the year, recognizing superior performance with awards for a variety of occupational fields including: Ground Awards; Ground Logistics Awards; Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4); Intelligence and Ammunition Technology. These prominent awards are given to top performing Marines annually and among the numerous awards are the:

PFC Herbert A. Littleton Awards, which are awarded each year to one Staff Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) for Operational Communication Excellence, and two Non-Commissioned Officers (NCO) who best exemplify enlisted communications excellence, as well as excellence in maintaining equipment that enables the Marine Corps to achieve information and communications dominance.

Marine Corps Enlisted Logistician of the Year Award is presented to the logistician selected based on outstanding contributions in the Marine Corps logistics field. This Marine will have developed concepts, doctrine, technology or procedures that contribute to logistics transformation and demonstrated continual resourcefulness and responsiveness by meeting operational and/or strategic challenges.

Major Douglas Alexander Zembiec, USMC Award, which is presented annually to the commissioned officer who best exemplifies outstanding leadership in the USMC Forces Special Operations Command.

Academic Awards:

In 2011, MCA&F distributed over 6,000 academic awards to top performing Marines and those enrolled in education programs leading to potential service in the Marine Corps. Among these numerous awards recognizing the highest achievers are those presented to JROTC and NJROTC programs, ALL Marine formal schools, academies, and corporal courses.  

Commissioning Awards:

The Marine Corps’ Officer Candidates School (OCS), including the Platoon Leaders Class program, the U.S. Naval Academy, and Naval Reserve Officer Training Course (NROTC) are the three major commissioning sources in the Marine Corps. MCA&F provides awards to recognize the outstanding graduates of all of these programs.  In 2011, MCA&F provided these programs with over 200 awards. Examples of some of the sponsored commissioning awards are the Phil Yeckel Award, Major Harry Elms Award and the USNA Leatherneck award.

The Phil Yeckel Award is awarded to a candidate with the highest overall average in his or her OCS company. The Major Harry Elms Award is awarded to an OCS candidate with prior enlisted service who has the highest overall average, while the USNA Leatherneck Award is presented to a USNA Midshipmen commissioned in the Marine Corps achieving the highest cumulative score during the Leatherneck course at TBS.

Recruit Training Regiment Awards:


The “Chesty Puller Recruit Company Honor Graduate Award

In 2011, MCA&F distributed over 400 awards to Marines graduating from Recruit Training with recognition going to recruit company honor graduates, company high shooters on the rifle range and the recruit with the highest physical fitness test scores. Working with the recruit depots, MCA&F has upgraded all these awards and is in the process of shipping the newly designed awards to MCRD Parris Island, South Carolina and MCRD San Diego, California. One of the newly designed awards MCA&F provides is the “Chesty” Puller Award.

The “Chesty” Puller Award is the Recruit Company Honor Graduate Award, which is presented to the Marine of each graduating company who has demonstrated the highest potential for future leadership and responsibility in the Marine Corps. The prestigious award is about six inches tall and is cast in synthetic resin coated with bronze powder.  Approximately 90 recruit training companies graduate each year and one recruit honor graduate is selected from each company.

Recurring Individual Awards:

Marine of the quarter and Marine of the year awards are awarded to top performing individuals in their respective units. Based on the unit’s criteria, individuals are selected by the Marine unit commander. MCA&F supports and sponsors these awards to individuals who are recognized for their superior performance, as well as provides awards that are presented to Marines all over the world, such as recruiter of the year, prior service recruiter of the year, drill instructor of the year, Marine Security Guard of the Year, Marine Combat Instructor of the Year, and Career Retention Specialist of the year. In 2011, MCA&F distributed over 800 recurring awards to individuals recognized by Marine units.

If you or a fellow Marine received an award, chances are that MCA&F provided it.

For more information on the Marine Excellence Award Program click here.

Through the support of our MCA&F members and revenue from our retail activities at The MARINE Shop, and MarineShop.net, MCA&F recognizes thousands of deserving Marines. You can support today’s Marines by joining MCA&F and stay informed on issues affecting Marines. Members receive many benefits including access to magazines, discounts from 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.