News: 20-year-old award ceremony honors old and new generation of E Co., 2/7
Story by Cpl. Charles Santamaria
TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. - The Marine Corps’ storied legacy spans hundreds of years since its humble beginning in 1775. To this day, the Marine Corps takes pride in its traditions. Aboard the Combat Center, E Co., 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, continues a tradition of its own, alongside the 1st Marine Division Association, Phoenix Chapter, which began 20 years ago.
The 1st Marine Division Association hosted a coin presentation for Co. E, Aug. 22 at Building 1707. The event also introduced the Oscar P. Austin award to the Marines and explained its importance to the history of the company. The award was named after Austin, a Medal of Honor recipient who received the award posthumously for heroism and sacrifice of his own life in South Vietnam in February, 1969, while serving with E Co., 2/7. The award is given to a Marine who distinguishes himself during a deployment and is chosen fellow Marines who deployed with said Marine.
“The award is to honor the Marines,” said Gene Wuestenfield, president, 1st Marine Division, Phoenix Chapter. “The important part of the award is that it is chosen by the Marines of the company. Officers and non-commissioned officers do not vote, which makes it a more personal award.”
“It’s an honor to have an award like this for the company,” said Capt. William T. Kerrigan, company commander, Co. E, 2/7. “It adds to our legacy.”
The award is presented after every deployment and beginning this year, will be presented to a corpsman as well.
“When Austin was killed in action all those years ago, you better believe there was a corpsman there treating him,” Wuestenfield said. “I think after all these years, it’s time corpsman be recognized for what they do.”
The on-going tradition of this ceremony honors Austin and the history of Co. E. by recognizing Marines from current generations.