H&HS Marines sweep MCI East competition

Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
Story by Lance Cpl. Kevin Ferguson

Date: 11.04.2011
Posted: 11.15.2011 14:45
News ID: 80078
H&HS Marines sweep MCI East competition

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Palms moist with a nervous sweat are closed tight and drawn close to the trouser seams, feet hold a 30 degree angle, from the heels, accentuating freshly pressed uniform that seems to announce the Marine who stands before the members of the board with unbreakable bearing. Many Marines have been in this position, but few have come at victorious at such a high level.

Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron’s Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, Marine of the Year and Marine of the Quarter were all selected to represent the squadron at the Marine Corps Installations East board, Oct. 20.

The expectations for participants at the H&HS board were raised in the beginning of October to not only increase competition, but to give Marines an edge over others.

“Our Marines sent to represent the Air Station were all selected through the rigorous H&HS board and had college education either prior to or while in the Corps, making a clean sweep possible, no questions asked,” said Gunnery Sgt. Maurice Bease, the H&HS squadron gunnery sergeant.

Lance Cpl. Matthew Hamel, the MCI East Marine of the Year, is the most junior of the three who went to the board and he was also the last to sit in front of eight sergeants major for the question and answer responses.

“I really felt the pressure knowing everyone else won the board and was even more nervous as I knocked on the door to go see the sergeants major,” said Hamel, a Boston native. “Once I reported in and sat down, I had tunnel vision and all my nervousness left because I knew what needed to be done.”

Each Marine who appeared at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejuene for the region board, had the skill and confidence needed to represent their commands, but only three Marines were selected.

“For H&HS to sweep the board, it says so much about the command philosophy and the work ethics,” said Sgt. Robert Lark, the MCI East NCO of the Year from Orlando, Fla. “It really shows the desire to lead.”

Marines in H&HS have more to work for and tougher competition in the squadron’s board due to changes in what is expected of the Swamp Foxes.

The MCI East meritorious promotion board winner, Cpl. Clarence Canty, was also recognized and will be promoted to sergeant for his performance during the MCI East board.

“There is always that top ten percent of Marines in everything we do, even if it’s ten Marines during [physical training],” Lark concluded.