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Yuma Marines earn Meritorious Unit Commendation

By Lance Cpl. Daniel Angel | | October 10, 2006

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Maj. Gen. Michael Lehnert, Marine Corps Installations West commanding general, presented a Meritorious Unit Commendation to station headquarters personnel on the parade deck Tuesday afternoon.

The MUC recognizes the station for outstanding performance providing air traffic control, security, and aircraft rescue and firefighting services from Oct. 1, 2004 to Sept. 30, 2005.

“For all of you out there that figure you are overworked, underpaid and underloved, this is your opportunity to shine. You’ve done well today, and I appreciate what each and everyone of you does,” said Lehnert in his speech to the formation. “Whatever happens to you in your future, you can know on this day that a Marine general officer stood out here and told you that you are the best installation in the Marine Corps,” said Lehnert.

According to the award citation, despite limited money and personnel, Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, the busiest airfield in the Department of the Navy, has improved its services and made its programs more efficient and effective for its more than 1,744 aircraft and the additional 5,000 personnel from a variety of external units that trained here during the time period of the award.

The award also notes significant improvements in the quality of life for the over 3,700 Marines and sailors stationed here and their 6,700 family members.

“The award is a positive reflection on the station as a whole,” said Lt. Col. Charles Carroll, station executive officer. “It’s about the synergistic effect of the base coming together as a whole to support the war effort.”

Marines and Sailors stationed with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron from Oct. 1, 2004 to Sept. 30, 2005 are now authorized to wear the MUC.

The MUC is awarded to a unit for valorous or meritorious service in either combat or non-combat situations, which distinguishes the unit as outstanding compared to other units performing similar duties and comparable to service that would merit an individual the bronze star.

“I think Yuma is at the forefront of our seven installations,” said Sgt. Maj. Wayne Bell, MCI West sergeant major. “The leadership is so phenomenal that I never have to worry about (the station).”

This MUC will give H&HS Marines a chance to wear a more rare ribbon. Most of the awards these Marines are used to seeing are individual awards, said Sgt. Maj. Manuel Garibay, station sergeant major.

“It’s probably the first time many of the Marines, even senior enlisted, have received an award like this,” he said.

The command made it a point to award the citation at a time when the Marines would get a chance to show it off.

“Fortunately, we were able to get this award to the Marines in time for the ball,” said Bell.

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