MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Thirty-five civilians with Marine Corps Community Services, Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune were awarded the Global War on Terrorism Civilian Service Medals during an awards luncheon at the Paradise Point Officers’ Club, April 14.
These 35 Marine Corps Exchange retail workers, Semper Fit instructors and facilities maintenance employees willingly deployed to the Middle East in support of the Marines and sailors currently serving on the battlefield.
“We may voluntarily join the Marine Corps, but after that we go where we are told,” said Col. Richard P. Flatau Jr., commanding officer of Camp Lejeune. “However, you all did not have to go where you went. You voluntarily left the comfort of your homes to further serve the men and women in uniform.”
Each civilian worked aboard various installation MCXs and said their main motivation was strengthening the moral and support of the service members overseas.
“I was in Camp Fallujah (Iraq) managing the exchange warehouse, shipping, ordering and accounting for products,” said Dennis Yeddo, Courthouse Bay Fitness Center manager for Semper Fit. “It’s one thing to be stateside and see the troops on a daily basis, but it’s another thing to be over there helping to serve and seeing some familiar faces.”
By working in a combat zone, these civilians are subjected to the same risks and stress that service members endure. These brave men and women, however, chose to put themselves in harm’s way to show their gratitude to warriors in uniform. This is why they were awarded the civilian version of the GWOT medal.
“To be eligible for this award, employees must be engaged in direct support in a combat zone,” said Flatau. “Not only is that asking a lot of you but also of your family and friends.
Civilians who demonstrate their dedication by willingly deploying overseas in support of the service members are a show of patriotism and support which this country gives its warriors in uniform. Likewise the service members recognize the effort the MCCS workers put in to deploy and give appreciation back.
“The civilian workers that I’ve interacted with are all enthusiastic about being there and are professional and courteous towards us,” said Cpl. Nathan Covington, radio operator with 8th Communications Battalion, 2nd Marine Headquarters Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force. “It was their way to be able to support us and they enjoyed what they did.”
As long as there is a Marine Corps, there are MCCS employees behind them for support. Yeddo for one said that if he would be able to deploy again, there would be no hesitation.
“Being able to deploy was an experience of a lifetime, and I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” said Yeddo. “It is our show of payback for what you all do on a daily basis. You provide for us, so we provide for you.”