MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Joe Ramirez served in the Marine Corps for 20 years before retiring as a master gunnery sergeant. Then he left Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune to pursue the next chapter of his life as a civilian working as the director for business operations with a company in Texas.
One year later, Ramirez realized he missed something - and that something was the Marine Corps. So Ramirez took on a job as the director of the Training Resources Management Division back on his old stomping grounds – Camp Lejeune.
In 2005, Ramirez was promoted to his current position as the director, Marine Corps Liaisons for Government and External Affairs for MCB Camp Lejeune and Marine Corps Air Station New River.
Recently, Ramirez was recognized for his 40 years of combined Marine Corps and civil service when he was presented an award by Col. Daniel J. Lecce, the base commanding officer, during a ceremony held Sept. 17, in John A. Lejeune Hall, aboard the base.
“I had no clue it had been 40 years already,” said a humble Ramirez. “Time seems to fly when you’re having fun.”
Ramirez said his job is worthwhile, and he often gets the opportunity to see the results of his endeavors.
“My job is fun and rewarding because I’m in a position to affect the quality of life for the military and their dependants,” said Ramirez. “Anything outside of the base’s gates that has interest to the military, I deal with.”
Although his job presents some challenges, Ramirez insists that he still loves it.
“I get to work with senators and congressmen to change legislation to benefit North Carolina’s military installations and (I get to work with) the local law enforcement to help protect the base’s perimeter,” said Ramirez. “To see the changes makes my job that much better.”
Onslow County Manager Jeffrey Hudson said he has worked with Ramirez on many projects throughout the years.
“He is simply one of the most professional, knowledgeable and personable individuals I’ve ever met,” said Hudson. “He is task oriented, and he is able to effectively communicate with elected leaders at all levels, as well as concerned citizen groups. I think this award is highly deserved. Joe works hard for the community and the Onslow community is better because of the working relationship he creates between Camp Lejeune and the civilian community.”
Ramirez’s job is important because his work helps to keep service members, their dependents and civilians living around the base safe. One example of this is how he works with the county and city planners to create zoning laws that prohibit certain structures from being built too close to the base and its training areas. These zoning ordinances help keep people safe and ensure Camp Lejeune’s continued use of its live fire ranges by preventing residential development in loud noise areas and flight paths.
Ramirez said even though he has reached 40 years of service, he plans to continue working.
“I’m going to keep trucking,” said Ramirez. “I’m not even thinking about retiring yet. I’m going to keep doing what I love.”