MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - The Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce military affairs committee recognized a service member who went above and beyond to accomplish tasks given to them recognizing the 30th anniversary of the Beirut bombing aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Oct. 21.
With the purpose of maintaining and continually improving the relationship between the military and civilian communities, the MAC recognized Petty Officer 3rd Class Kara Merkwan, leading petty officer of maternal child care and infant nursing at the Camp Lejeune Naval Hospital, and also the command sexual assault response coordinator awarded her the service member of the quarter award. Merkwan received the award for her work aboard base.
According to Marine Corps Order 1650.2, the Greater Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce, military affairs committee sponsors a monthly service member of the quarter and an annual service member of the year recognition award for the Camp Lejeune and New River area. The recognition is based on the attributes of exceptional professional performance, particularly valuable or unique service and participation in community projects, services and affairs.
“I didn’t think it was possible to have such an overwhelming feeling of appreciation for you all,” said Merkwan. “I had no idea there was anything out there for service members who are appreciated for the little things which now appear to be huge to other people. I’ve done so well, and I try to lead my sailors as effectively as I can, because I’ve had great leaders. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Some of Merkwan’s achievements include junior sailor of the quarter, for first and second quarter, and junior sailor of the year 2013.
Merkwan also invited her mentor to speak on her behalf during the event.
“Merkwan has been a great help at the naval hospital,” said Navy Capt. Nancy Pearson, directorate for nursing services with the CLNH aboard base. “She has shown unparalleled commitment to her duty. When she went to labor and delivery, she excelled, and she’s most proud of training her sailors and seeing them succeed. She’s incredible.”
With the recent Beirut Memorial services, retired Sgt. Maj. Grant Beck, commander for Beirut Memorial Chapter 642, Military Order of the Purple Heart attended the event.
“I’ve served and I was in those barracks on that day,” said Beck. “So it’s an honor for us to be here presenting the picture of the memorial to Merkwan for her dedication, loyalty and professionalism. If I ever come back on active duty I will request this petty officer, who will probably be a chief by then.”
Many of the victims of the Beirut attack were part of the Jacksonville, N.C., community, and the MAC remembered those lost during the meeting.
Along with naming the service member of the quarter, the Jacksonville-Onslow Chamber of Commerce MAC invited Beirut veterans to speak with other service members about past experiences.
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