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Fightertown service members dominate: Beaufort Marines, sailors excel at regional MCIEAST, 2nd MAW boards

By Lance Cpl. Dane M. Horst | | November 10, 2006

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Fightertown Marines and sailors represented their units well at this year’s Marine Corps Installations East and 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing recognition and promotion boards during October. When it was all said and done, five of Fightertown’s finest were among the top finishers.

Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron brought home the MCIEAST Sailor of the Year, Meritorious Sergeant and Marine of the Year and Marine Aircraft Group 31 brought back 2nd MAW’s Junior and Senior Sailors of the quarter.

"The Marines and sailors represented us well," said Lt. Col. Greg

Horton, the commanding officer of the Swamp Foxes. "It was my privilege to present each one of the H&HS Marines their certificates."

Two Marines and one sailor from H&HS competed on the MCIEAST boards for the Meritorious Sergeant, Sailor of the Year, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Marine of the Year. Representing H&HS were Sgt. Roger Lively, the former Installation Personnel Administration Center deployed operations chief, Petty Officer 2nd Class Frank Cecil, a religious program specialist and the leading petty officer at the Air Station Chapel, and Lance Cpl. Xavier Wethington, an Air Station air traffic controller.

"The command element was in awe when we first heard our Marines and sailor took those boards; we sent three up there to compete on four boards and we won three," Horton said. “I think one of the main reasons we did so well is because the sections took the time to make sure all of the write-ups were professionally done and the packages prepared properly. It doesn’t discount what the individual Marines and sailor did, it was a team effort.”

Personnel from all MCIEAST installations, six bases total, competed for the coveted titles.

“When you are held to a higher standard and you meet that standard, you’ll go on the board with confidence in your abilities,” said Lively, who took meritorious sergeant. “It feels pretty good to be a meritorious sergeant.”

The MCIEAST Sailor of the Year Petty Officer 2nd Class Frank Cecil, a religious program specialist and the leading petty officer at the Air Station Chapel said, “I was honored to represent the Air Station. I went there with the mindset to do my best.”

A religious program specialist rate is one of two Navy military occupational specialties that provide strictly services. Many times RPs are often overlooked, because not every Marine or sailor needs the services RPs provide, according to Senior Chief Petty Officer Vardry Smith, the Air Station supply chief and Navy senior-enlisted advisor for H&HS.

“It's great for Petty Officer Cecil, because he really works hard at keeping things flowing in the Chapel because of the demands for different services and requests of the facility,” Smith said.

Meanwhile, MAG-31 corpsmen Petty Officer 2nd Class Mignon Hezekiah and Petty Officer 3rd Class Marcel Fucci went up against all the sailors from 2nd MAW to include MAGs-14, 26 and 29, and returned home as Junior and Senior Sailors of the Quarter.

“It feels like such a major accomplishment to win the board and represent the MAG and Air Station,” said Petty Officer 2nd Class Mignon Hezekiah.

The boards judged the Marines and sailors on their military knowledge, appearance and service record history, as well as their recommendation package submitted by their parent command.

“I was very nervous because I was an HM2 going up against fellow petty officer second classes and first classes, plus I was the only female. I knew I would do well, but I did not think I would win,” Hezekiah said.

Overall Fightertown did well, Horton explained.

“We still continue to push our Marines and sailors to compete for these boards and we’re still going to go the extra mile to make sure their packages are properly and professionally done as we send it forward,” Horton said.

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