News: Marine receives recognition for combat readiness contributions
Story by Lance Cpl. Tyler J. Bolken
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. - A 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Marine was named recently for her outstanding contributions to the Marine Corps by top officials in the Marine Corps League.
Sgt. Elizabeth A. Plaia of Marine Tactical Electronic Warfare Squadron 3 will be awarded the Sgt. Maj. Bertha L. Peters Award Sept. 29 for her work as an individual material readiness list asset manager with the squadron. The award is one of several that are given to enlisted Marines yearly.
“My friend called and told me I won, and I just screamed,” said Plaia. “I feel honored and privileged.”
Sgt. Maj. Bertha L. Peters was the first female sergeant major in the Marine Corps, and the award bearing her name recognizes an enlisted female Marine who has made a significant contribution to increased combat readiness.
Plaia was nominated for the Peters award by 1st Lt. Melissa A. DePriest, a maintenance material control officer, and Plaia’s prior officer in charge. VMAQ-3 Marines said they felt Plaia was the best-suited non-commissioned officer for the award, explained DePriest.
“As her OIC, I was able to see the direct positive effects she had in regards to program improvements,” said DePriest. “It is rare to find a Sgt. Plaia in the individual material readiness list community.”
Plaia feels her best quality as a Marine is her leadership, and she aspires for her Marines to be better than her.
“I couldn’t have gotten this award without the help from Lance Cpl. Brian C. Knowles,” Plaia explained.
Knowles is also an IMRL asset manager and has worked with Plaia since June 2009.
“She pushes me to be better and more competent at my job,” Knowles said. “It makes me a better Marine.”
Plaia joined the Marine Corps in February 2005, and she jokingly remembers how the news of her joining was received.
“Some of my friends said I was too girly,” Plaia said. “I wanted to be a part of the toughest branch.”
The Houma, La., native said she has never looked back since joining the Marine Corps. Plaia said she feels strongly about serving her country and volunteered herself for both of her deployments to Iraq.
Plaia is scheduled to receive her award and be recognized at a ceremony at the 30th annual Modern Day Marine Military Exposition, Sept. 29, at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. If the commandant and sergeant major of the Marine Corps are available, they will present the award.
“I sincerely believe Sgt. Plaia will use this opportunity to mentor other Marines in her job field and motivate them to become as proficient as she has over the years,” said DePriest.