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Marine becomes NCO of quarter, earns backseat ride

By Cpl. Anthony Guas | | June 29, 2005

NAS FALLON, Nev. - A backseat ride is something that most people do not get a chance to experience, but for a Marine from Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251, this dream recently became a reality.

Corporal Marteze Moore, an intelligence analyst with VMFA-251 became the noncommissioned officer of the quarter, June 13, and earned a backseat ride in a T-34 while aboard Naval Air Station Fallon, Nev.

“We try to do everything to reward Marines,” said Lt. Col. John Jansen, the commanding officer of VMFA-251.

Moore, a 24-year-old native of Charleston, S.C., joined the Corps in April 2000. After graduating basic training, Moore went to school to become an administrative clerk.

“I broke my ankle playing high school football, which landed me in the recruiter’s office,” Moore said. “I joined the Corps because some of my family members served in other branches of the military, so I wanted to do something different.”

In his first tour of duty, Moore was sent to the Installation Personnel Administrative Center aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort. He was later temporarily assigned to VMFA-251. Moore enjoyed being with the T-bolts so much he requested orders to the squadron.

“I like to travel and I have been many places with the squadron,” Moore said. “As long as I’m traveling, I’m happy.” 

Although Moore was experiencing mobility with the squadron, he still felt that he needed more than travel.

“I was in a comfort zone in my (military occupational specialty),” Moore said. “Our old commanding officer said that if you know your job too well, that’s a bad thing.”

In September, Moore laterally moved into a new MOS, becoming an intelligence analyst for the Thunderbolts.

“Intel has been nothing but a challenge,” Moore said. “Working with the pilots gives me a good feeling. Things like helping with the routes on their flights is rewarding to me.”

The NCO of the Quarter board came as a surprise to Moore. He was not aware it was taking place until a week prior, but the short notice did not keep him from competing.

“I owe thanks to Capt. Vandenburg, he submitted my name and helped me with the paperwork,” Moore said. “I was surprised at first and unprepared. I felt a little added pressure, but I adapted and overcame.”

Moore spent the rest of the week preparing for the board by  prepping his uniform and studying. Although he only had a week to get ready, Moore felt he was ready to compete.

“I didn’t feel nervous, just calm,” Moore said. “I used to do this a lot with sports. Most people get pumped up, but I’m the opposite, I stay really calm.”

Just like finding out about the board, Moore was surprised to hear the reward would be a backseat ride. It was something that was not originally planned, but put together while in Fallon, according to Jansen.

“This was an opportunity to recognize a top performer in a unique way,” Jansen said.
The reward was worth it, and hopefully it will motivate Marines to take part in future boards, according to Moore.

“This was a great incentive,” Moore said. “This was a great way that the CO rewarded me. If this gets passed to younger Marines, they’ll start competing.”

In addition to taking the backseat ride as a chance for an adventure, Moore also related the flight to his job.

“The CO said he was really proud because I took it as a learning experience,” Moore said. “In the long run it will help me out.”

Inspired by his accomplishments, Moore plans to compete in future boards and push junior Marines in the squadron to participate. He feels that it is not only about self-recognition, but also making the whole unit look good.

“I’d rather be on a board than the daily blotter,” Moore said. “I plan to push other Marines, because I don’t want them to make my mistake. When I first came in I was lackadaisical about boards, but now I plan to get more involved.”

The squadron’s Marines are proud of Moore and feel that he deserved to win the board, according to Staff Sgt. Sam Walser, an intelligence chief with VMFA-251.

“It’s nice to see a good Marine get rewarded,” Walser said. “(Moore) is an outstanding Marine.”