CAMP JOHNSON, N.C. --
Leadership is one of the Marine Corps’ highest-held traits in the individual Marine. Without leadership, there would be no Marine Corps. As such, every Marine, as well as every other service member and civilian aboard a military installation, is charged with being a leader to others and inspiring them to be leaders themselves. As Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys football team, once said, “Leadership is getting someone to do what they don’t necessarily want to do in order to achieve what they truly want to achieve.”
William Joseph, director of the Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune reception center, used this quote when he described Virginia Court, deputy director of the Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools Personnel Administration Center, during her retirement celebration after working a combined 40 years for the federal service in the Department of Defense at the Camp Johnson Bachelor Officers’ Quarters, June 3.
“I met her more than 20 years ago when I was a young staff sergeant who thought he knew it all,” said Joseph. “Ten years after that when I returned as a chief warrant officer three, I realized it was okay not to know everything. I will never forget all that I learned from her, not only as a mentor but as a friend.”
Starting her work for the DOD in 1967, Court bounced back and forth between the Army and the Navy for five years. However, in 1972, Court found her niche working for the Marine Corps aboard MCB Camp Lejeune, and in 1976, at the MCCSSS PAC.
“Her admin acumen is unmatched,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Michael McCann, director of the MCCSSS PAC. “She has held nearly every position there is in (the PAC), seen more than 263,000 students pass through here, received about 30 awards and has only taken one day of sick leave since I’ve been here for the past three years. That right there speaks volumes of her work ethic.”
For the past 35 years, Court has evolved into something of a legend at the MCCSSS, witnessing for nearly everything since the birth of the school into what it is today – as well as the school’s leadership.
“I was here when Col. (Richard) Fullerton (MCCSSS commanding officer) came through Ground Supply School as a second lieutenant,” said Court. “It certainly has been a long time, but it will still be hard on Monday morning when I get up and know I won’t be coming to work anymore.”
As one might imagine, someone like Court would gain a plethora of friends when working at the same facility for more than three decades. As such, the leader she has become in her department is an aspect of her personality to be spoken highly of during her departure.
“She’s going to be leaving with so much experience as well as a permanent mark on (MCCSSS),” said Fullerton. “She’s been the go-to person for an annual 7,500 students and 500 staff members, and her absence will be like losing a cornerstone of a solid foundation.”
During the ceremony, Court was presented with various letters of appreciation along with a multitude of other gifts, including a portrait of her in her office, a framed PAC guidon flag and the cased colors that flew above the MCCSSS headquarters on the day of her retirement.
Whereas her position as deputy director will be filled with another able worker, the office that once held Court will just never be the same to the staff of the PAC as well as to many others at the MCCSSS. Just as many great leaders in history, though they may be gone, they are still there in the minds of everyone else.
“The numbers of the people she’s helped throughout the years are outstanding,” said Johnson. “There would be times where someone would come through (the PAC) at a crossroads in their lives, and she’d reach out and help them on the right path. She was more than an admin worker. She was a true friend.”