MARINE CORPS AIR STATION BEAUFORT, S.C. -- Staff Sgt. Melissa Johnson, operations chief with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, received the Major Megan McClung Leadership Award during the Sea Service Leadership Association’s Joint Leadership Symposium in Norfolk, Va., June 12.
Brig. Gen. Lori Reynolds, Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island commanding general, presented the award to Johnson which recognizes leaders who are mature, inspirational, innovative and imaginative.
Johnson is currently the operations chief aboard Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, but received the award for her leadership and actions as a drill instructor, senior drill instructor and chief drill instructor for 4th Recruit Training Battalion aboard Parris Island.
“I’ve spoken with a number of people who told me that they knew Maj. Megan McClung or had served with her since I was selected to receive the award,” she said. “Learning about her and why she has this award in her honor has made me understand what an honor it is to receive this award.”
Maj. Megan Malia Leilani McClung was killed in action Dec. 6, 2006, by an improvised explosive device in Ramadi, Iraq. She was the first female Marine officer killed in the Iraq War.
“It’s really humbling to receive the award,” said Johnson. “The highlight [of the symposium] was definitely receiving the award and having my family there; my parents, my husband and children. It gave them the ability to see that environment.
“It was really, really exciting to see so many women service members in one spot, and all the major accomplishments in not just the Marine Corps but in our sister services as well,” she said.