News: MARSOC awards outstanding individuals of 2009
Story by Cpl. Richard Blumenstein
By Cpl. Richard Blumenstein
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Eight U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operation Command personnel received awards for outstanding actions in 2009 during the MARSOC annual awards ceremony Feb. 24 in front of the MARSOC headquarters building.
During the ceremony, Maj. Gen. Paul E. Lefebvre, commander of MARSOC, gave out the following awards:
MARSOC Commander's Award Of Excellence went to Chief Warrant Officer 1 Joseph Grimaldi. Support Marine Of The Year went to Staff Sgt. Kevin Anderson. Marine Of The Year went to Cpl. Luke Knapp. Sailor Of The Year went to Petty Officer 3rd Class Victor Desantis, a hospital corpsman. Civilian Of The Year went to John S. Dillard.
"It's an honor, an absolute great honor," Dillard said. "I'm very grateful to be awarded this; it means a lot coming out of this unit."
Three Marines were not present to receive their awards. However, the awardees were still named:
Noncommissioned Officer Of The Year went to Sgt. Michael McCafferty. Instructor Of The Year went to Gunnery Sgt. John Baily. Marine Special Operator Of The Year went to Staff Sgt. Marc Laliberte.
During the ceremony, which marked the fourth year of the existence of MARSOC, Lefebvre highlighted the milestones from the past year and talked about future goals of the organization.
Among them are the standing up of the Marine Special Operations Regiment, the deployment of its first Special Operation Task Force in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan, and the opening of the MARSOC headquarters building on Stone Bay.
Other highlights included the graduation of the first MARSOC Advanced Linguist Course Feb. 19, the graduation of the first Individual Training Course in April 2009, and the second ITC Feb.11. The two ITC graduations have produced a total of 90 Marine special operators.
Lefebvre said this year MARSOC intends to produce 210 new Marine special operators that will make up the three companies in 3rd Marine Special Operation Battalion.
While giving a speech during the ceremony, Lefebvre took time to note, although MARSOC is still new to the special operations community, the organization continues to pull more than its weight.
"We represent about four percent of the total force in SOCOM, but we execute about eleven percent of the missions," he said. "That's Marines punching way, way above our weight class."