MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. --
Palms moist with ner¬vous sweat are closed tight and drawn close to the trouser seams, feet hold a 30 degree angle from the heels, accentuating the 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 been victori¬ous at high levels.
Headquarters and Head¬quarters 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 Instal¬lations East board Oct.20.
The expectations for participants at the H&HS board were raised in the beginning of October to not only increase competi¬tion, but to give Marines an edge over the competition.
“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 ques¬tions asked,” said Gun¬nery Sgt. Maurice Bease, H&HS squadron gunnery sergeant.
Lance Cpl. Matthew Hammel, the MCI East and H&HS 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 portion.
“I really felt the pres¬sure knowing everyone else won the board and was even more nervous as I knocked on the door to go see the sergeants major,” said Hammel, a Boston native. “Once I re¬ported in and sat down, I had tunnel vision and all my nervousness left be¬cause I knew what needed to be done.”
Each Marine who ap¬peared 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 phi¬losophy and the work ethic,” said Sgt. Robert Lark, the MCI East and H&HS NCO of the Year and Orlando, Fla., native. “It really shows the desire to lead.”
With changes in the H&HS board process, Swamp Fox Marines will now need to work harder, thus becoming tougher competition.
The MCI East and H&HS Marine of the Quarter, Cpl. Clarence Canty, a District of Co¬lumbia native, 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.