Isaak award winner announced

1 May 2004 | Pfc. Christopher J. Ohmen

A scout with Company A, 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d Marine Division, won the Isaak award and received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal May 1, for exceptional competence, physical and mental endurance, military prowess, and general bearing.

Lance Cpl. Christopher M. Messano received the award during the 20th Anniversary Ceremony of the battalion’s inception, which ended with the traditional cake cutting ceremony.

Corporal Garreth C. Isaak was a scout squad leader of Company D, 2d Light Armored Infantry Battalion, 2d Marine Division, in December 1989.  While attempting to secure the National Department of Traffic and Land Transportation number two on December 20, during Operation Just Cause in Haiti, Isaak’s squad came under intensely hostile fire.  He continued to advance toward the building in order to clear it of hostile forces of unknown size, cited the citation.

Once inside, Isaak maneuvered from room to room ensuring it was
secure.  His squad again encountered small automatic weapons fire from within the building.  With full knowledge of the risks he continued to advance in order to neutralize the threat.  As a result of his heroic conduct, Isaak ensured the objective was completed giving his life to accomplish his mission.  The Silver Star was awarded to Isaak posthumously, cited the citation.

The Isaak Award seeks to recognize those Marines who must exemplify the attributes of dedication and military expertise in the field of infantry.  The winner of this award is the battalion’s “top scout” and is chosen from a competitive field of five scouts nominated by each company.  The five scouts are subjected to a grueling series of written and practical application tests as well as a board interview and tactical sand table exercise.  A selection committee comprised of the operations officer, the operations chief, and the company gunnery sergeants grades the Marines in each area.  Their scores are submitted to the battalion commander for selection as the Isaak Award winner.