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Sweathog named Engineer of the Year

By Lance Cpl. Kim Thompson | | August 23, 2002

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The Marine Corps Engineer Association named an engineer from Marine Wing Support Squadron-273 the Heavy Equipment Marine of the year, Aug. 1.

Staff Sgt. Kevin A. Pietsch, heavy
equipment engineer staff non-commissioned officer in charge, MWSS-273, will receive the MCEA award in a ceremony scheduled to take place Sept. 26, in Branson, Mo.

The MCEA is an organization composed of Marine engineers, shore party, bulk fuel, drafting and surveying and engineers attached to aviation units.

"Each year MCEA solicits nominations in four categories of engineering," said Chief Warrant Officer Andrew J. Mikel, heavy equipment engineer officer in charge, MWSS-273.

"(Pietsch) sets the example as a Marine," said Mikel. "The command submitted a package because he represents both the Marine Corps and the engineering community. That's why he won."

Pietsch, a former drill instructor and a gunnery sergeant select, said he has been working with the Sweathogs for more than two years.

"We're responsible for heavy equipment operations," Pietsch said. "We do everything from unloading planes on the flightline to road restoration."

It is an honor to receive the award because of the quality of the engineers across the Marine Corps, according to Pietsch. However, he credits his fellow Marines with his success.

"I guess I was chosen for my performance and my appearance; but there are 31 Marines in my section, and I'm just accepting this award for them," Pietsch said. "They make my job easy."

According to Master Sgt. T. H. Elting, MWSS-273 wing engineer and acting first sergeant, Pietsch is overly modest.

"The award couldn't go to a finer person," Elting said. "He works hard, and he deserves the award. I can't say enough good things about him."

Pietsch will be leaving for Okinawa in January 2003. After his tour is over, he plans to return stateside as an instructor.

"It's either (Officer Candidate School as an instructor) or back to the drill field one more time," he said.

In the meantime, Pietsch will continue to perform his job with 273, and according to the MCEA and his command, it is a job he does well.

"He's an awesome staff NCO and an outstanding leader in demeanor and character," Elting said. "If I had more people like him in my section, I wouldn't have to come to work."

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