MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. --
A corpsman working at the station’s Group Aid Station received prestigious awards for his commitment to duty and drive to better himself.
Petty Officer 1st Class Ranald Conlin, 29, earned the Navy Aerospace Medicine Technician of the year award and was named the 3rd Marine Air Wing Senior Petty Officer of the Year recently.
“It’s a great honor,” said Conlin, a native of Herlingen, Texas, and former Canadian who received his citizenship after joining the Corps. “I knew my command was putting me up for the awards, but I never expected to win them.”
Conlin competed against, and defeated, two corpsmen from every squadron throughout the Department of the Navy to claim the award and a trip to Pensacola, Fla., for the annual aerospace medicine convention.
“Looking at my competition, I think what set me above the rest is the amount of extracurricular duties and volunteering I did,” said Conlin.
Conlin acted as the career counselor, fitness leader and Fleet Marine Force trainer for the sailors at the aid station, offering career information, organizing physical training and teaching sailors about their Marine counterparts.
Even with his extra duties, Conlin still managed to volunteer at Crossroads Mission feeding and helping the homeless, as well as participating in Adopt-a-Street programs and helping the Bureau of Wildlife Management contain an evasive foreign weed, among others.
When asked, however, Conlin said that the main reason for his success is the sailors above and below him in his chain-of-command.
“Without good leaders guiding me from above and great sailors working for me from below I wouldn’t have had time to do any of the things that really set me apart,” said Conlin. “Not having to oversee every little detail or make sure something gets done went a long way in helping me.”
Fellow sailor, Petty Officer 2nd Class Benjamin Reyes, 27, also received the Junior Sailor of the Quarter award from station and 3rd MAW.
Reyes was happy about winning, if not a bit apprehensive to take credit for his award.
“I’m really thankful for being put up for the award,” said Reyes, a Tucson, Ariz., native. “I just don’t think I deserve it yet. All I do is try to learn what I can so that I get better at helping the Marines and sailors who come through the aid station. I didn’t really want to be nominated. My mother’s really happy for me though.”
Conlin plans on staying in the Navy for as long as he can, while Reyes is still undecided. Both are scheduled to deploy with Marine Attack Squadron 513 later this year.