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MWSS-371 Marine receives top honors in fuels

By Pfc. M. Daniel Sanchez | | September 5, 2006

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A Marine from Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 was selected as the Marine Corps Engineer Association’s 2006 Bulk Fuel Marine of the Year and will receive the award Oct. 12 in Peabody,

Mass., at the association’s awards banquet. Cpl. Jonathan Thrasher, a bulk fuel specialist with MWSS-371, received the news about the honor during the squadron’s post Labor Day accountability formation Sept. 5.

Lt. Col. Daniel Longwell, MWSS-371 commanding officer, announced the news before the entire squadron and praised Thrasher for his work.

Thrasher, a native of Clifton Park, N.Y., said he was excited to have received the award but wasn’t sure if it was an honor he could accept alone.

He said it was because of the outstanding group of Marines he worked with that he was able to do well.

“I’m not sure why I was the one to receive the award,” said Thrasher. “I was just doing my job like everybody else, but it’s still an honor to be recognized for our efforts.”

This award signifies the dedication to excellence of MWSS- 371 and the caliber of Marines it possesses, said Thrasher. It also goes along nicely with the American Petroleum Institute’s Awa r d f o r Excellence i n F u e l s Management and the Bulk Fuel Staff Noncommissioned Officer of the Year honors the squadron has already received this year.

But more than anything else, it shows that the work of the bulk fuel Marines does not go unnoticed, said Thrasher.

“Most people think of fuel only when they put gas in their vehicles,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael D. Neill, MWSS-371 fuels branch officer-in-charge.

“But what they do not see are the requirements to transport that fuel, store, account and maintain it. We also have to ensure it is of the highest quality before it goes into a vehicle or aircraft.”

It takes a lot for a Marine to be an efficient fuel specialist, yet alone one of the best in the Marine Corps, said Neill.

“Ensuring a quality product is delivered to the aircraft in the safest manner possible, knowing that the pilot depends on you to keep his aircraft in the air, and being aware of the hazards involved in accomplishing every fuel mission, is a big responsibility for the fuels Marines,” said Neill.

Thrasher has done an outstanding job in leading his Marines and providing a positive model for his fellow Marines to emulate, said Neill.

The thing that makes him so good is that he is a hands-on leader who is willing to get a little dirty to show the Marines the proper way to do something, said Cpl.
John McLaughlin, MWSS-371 bulk fuel specialist.

Thrasher’s service to the Marine Corps will end next year, after which he plans to go to Arizona State University to get a degree in construction management.

Even though he is leaving the service, Thrasher can look to his time in the Marine Corps with pride and satisfaction, said Neill.

He will succeed in whatever he decides to do.


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