News: David Swinney receives civilian service award
Story by Pfc. Nikki Phongsisattanak
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. — Nearly 4,000 civilian employees work aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to accomplish a variety of missions, from training Marines to providing guidance on career planning. Each year, one of the many civilian employees is awarded for their dedication to supporting the corps.
David L. Swinney, an administrative support specialist with S-4, Headquarters and Support Battalion, MCB Camp Lejeune, was selected as Civilian Employee of the Year. Swinney received the Meritorious Civilian Service award, Feb. 1.
“David was selected as the Civilian Employee of the Year, which is a tremendously big deal,” said Col. Daniel J. Lecce, commanding officer of Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune. “He competed against thousands of employees to earn the award.”
In July of last year, Swinney was presented with the Civilian of the Quarter award. One of Swinney’s co-workers said he was a game changer when he arrived at the office.
“The best thing about him is, he’s willing to do anything,” said Tom Barton, the operations officer with S-4, HQSPTBn., MCB Camp Lejeune. “He’s not a person that’s confined by what’s in his job description. He’s made a big difference in the front office of (S-4).”
Before his career with the S-4, Swinney enlisted in the Marine Corps December 2002 as an operations clerk and deployed to North Africa for a medical and veterinarian operation as a lance corporal. After re-enlisting, he attended Marine Security Guard school in Quantico, Va., where he was promoted to corporal before serving MSG duty for three years in various countries in Europe. He returned to MCB Camp Lejeune and worked in the Installation Personnel Administration Center for three months. Soon after, he was asked to work as the administrative chief for the commanding general of MCB Camp Lejeune.
“We looked at David’s career as he moved through the ranks of the Marine Corps as an administrator, but (he) made the wise and hard choice of going to the Marine security guard duty,” said Lecce. “When you enter the embassy, the first person you see is a Marine. They are the face of the United States in that country. (MSG) is a hard duty because it’s those long hours and it can be very monotonous. A lot of Marines leave MSG duty because they can’t deal with that, but he had the maturity and the focus to do it.”
Swinney completed his active-duty service in August 2010, and decided to continue to work and contribute to the Marine Corps.
“The Marine Corps instills hard work in you,” said Swinney. “As long as you carry on those attributes that you pick up in the Marine Corps to the civilian side, you’re bound to stand out a little bit more than your peers. Just being around the Marines and being around the Marine Corps is something I wanted because I was familiar with the work, but I still wanted a change.”
“A lot of our civilians have either gotten out or retired from the Marine Corps, so it’s great because they have the Marine Corps ethos and that work ethic,” said Lecce. “As you know, (Swinney) is a sergeant. He got out of the Marine Corps, but he’s a motivator, and he continues to drive and get better with everything that he does.”
After completing eight years of service in the Marine Corps, Swinney decided to continue a career working for the Corps that helped shape him into the person he is today.
“We have so many civilians that work on this base, and they do a tremendous job day in and day out,” said Lecce. “They are the continuity of the base and they really are the backbone of what gets a lot of things done here, and it’s really important to recognize that.”