MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERY POINT, N.C. (March 21) --
Five squadrons and three Marines from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing were recognized by the Marine Corps Aviation Association for their hard work and extraordinary performance throughout 2010 during a luncheon at Miller’s Landing March 21.
Each award winner had a common denominator, each spent time deployed in support of humanitarian or combat operations.
Retired Lt. Gen. Harold W. Blot spoke at the event as the guest of honor, saying the awards were a great achievement on the part of the units.
“Back in my day, we would talk about how in Happy Hour we had three groups,” Blot said. “The first group were the youngsters who were in training. Group two, those were the guys who had gotten to be pretty good, and of course it was very important to tell everybody in earshot how good they were. A few guys made group three, and they didn’t have to do that anymore because they were so good that other people talked about them. I would think that the award winners today have made it to that third group.”
Marine Air Control Squadron 2 won the Edward S. Fris Air Command and Control Unit of the Year. For its service in Iraq, Afghanistan and performing as the command element for Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Continuing Promise 2010.
Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 365 was the Fred McCorkle Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron of the Year winner. In June, VMM-365 began its first deployment as a tiltrotor unit. According to its submission, the squadron, “participated in more than a dozen named operations, completing missions ranging from aerial delivery, command and control, casualty evacuations, and tactical insertions and extractions of troops.”
Marine Wing Support Squadron 274 won the James E. Hatch Marine Wing Support Squadron of the Year award. According to Gunnery Sgt. Paul Wilcox, Engineer Company first sergeant for MWSS-274, it received the award for its accomplishments while deployed for seven months in Afghanistan, where the squadron employed every method of support that MWSS units are capable of, to include the construction of a C-130-capable runway at Camp Delaram II.
Marine Attack Squadron 231 was awarded the Lawson H.M. Sanderson Marine Attack Squadron of the Year award. VMA-231 was deployed in Afghanistan from October 2009 to May 2010. According to its submission for the award, VMA-231 played a central role in providing air support in the battle of Marjah, Afghanistan. The squadron also supported Enhanced Mojave Viper training at Twentynine Palms, Calif.
Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 2 was declared the Royal N. Moore award winner as the Electronic Warfare Squadron of the Year. In April 2010, VMAQ-2 deployed to Bagram Airbase and began combat operations in Afghanistan. While deployed, the squadron flew 655 combat sorties with 2,422 combat flight hours.
A number of hard working individuals were also recognized for the work they did to support their units.
Sgt. Nicholas W. Passage, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the ordnance division of VMA-231, won the Gaines B. Gilbert award as the Ordnance Marine of the Year. During 2010, Passage deployed with VMA-231 and perfected its ordnance division practices. He maintained a 100 percent inventory accuracy of more than 10,000 items under his care and served as the only quality assurance safety observer for arming and refueling operations during his deployment to Camp Dwyer Afghanistan.
Sgt. Xavier Wethington was announced as the Kenneth A. Innis Command and Control Marine of the Year. As the assistant team leader for the Marine Mobile Air Traffic Control Team of Special-Purpose MAGTF Continuing Promise, Wethington organized and expedited the flow of helicopter traffic, ensuring proper communications between all elements of the MAGTF.
Staff Sgt. Ryan Straub, the staff NCOIC of communications, navigation and radar for VMAQ-1, won the Paul G. Vess award as the Avionics Marine of the Year. During 2010, he cross-trained himself and his Marines into the electronic countermeasures field and integrated their shops. He also created the first high-frequency radio base station for the EA-6B Prowler, extending the radio range of the prowlers from 25 to 100 miles and vastly improved Prowler communications systems in Afghanistan.
Maj. Gen. Jon M. Davis, commanding general of 2nd MAW, gave praise to all of the units that make it possible to complete the missions assigned to 2nd MAW. When closing his comments, he said, “I couldn’t be prouder as your commanding general. Thank you all.”
The squadrons and Marines who received recognition by the MCAA will receive their awards at the 2011 MCAA Symposium and Reunion in San Diego, Calif., May 21.