MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Sit, kneel, bend, Marines and listen to the story of Frank Acevedo Jr. He enlisted in 1973, served 32 years in the Marine Corps and retired in 2005 as a master gunnery sergeant.
Just think about that for a second. Thirty-two years. That’s a time frame longer than quite a few Marines have been alive. That’s one hell of ride.
But wait, there’s more. After retiring from the Marine Corps, Acevedo continues to serve Marines working at the Marine Corps Installations East G-3/5 Operations and Planning as an operations specialist for the past 11 years.
Combine those 11 with 32 years in the Marine Corps and it’s more than 40 years of service.
Recently, Acevedo received a Career Service Award from the Secretary of the Navy for his overall service to his country and to the Marine Corps.
Beginning his career as a rifleman, Acevedo worked his way through the ranks, including two tours of recruiting duty and as company gunnery sergeant.
"I’ve gone to Kuwait with the liberation there," said Acevedo. "I’ve gone to Iraq in 2003 with the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade, Task Force Tarawa. And that unit did some fine things out there. We were involved with the rescue of Jessica Lynch."
Acevedo served with 1st Battalion, 2nd Marines; with 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marines; 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines; 6th Marine Regiment and then went onto II MEF G-3 Operations.
After he returned from Iraq, Acevedo came back and worked for the II Marine Expeditionary Force G-7 Command Inspector assisting in certification exercises, or CERTEX, certifying Marine Expeditionary Units as they went out with training.
Acevedo, who is no longer on active duty, still maintains the demeanor and appearance of a master gunnery sergeant of three decades. The devil dog’s well-groomed mustache, clean-shaven head and stout stature likens him to a Marine Corps bulldog nearly a decade after his retirement.
Before his retirement, Acevedo was working in operations and planning, and his familiarity with the job requirements eased his transition from active duty to federal service.
"Believe it or not, it went smoothly," said Acevedo. "I was in this [current] position on active duty. I had a great idea of what the job was all about."
As an operations specialist working in the MCI EAST G-3/5, Acevedo works with the Emergency Operations Center during destructive weather situations, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps and Junior ROTC visits and providing resources required for training.
"He’s a terrific employee and Marine," said John Reeve, MCI EAST-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune G-3 operations officer. "It’s an absolute pleasure to work with him. He’s one of six very senior staff noncommissioned officers who now work at this office. Like his brothers he brings a tremendous amount of knowledge to the table."
Having spent many years on Lejeune, Acevedo has seen Marines grow and become staff noncommissioned officers themselves. He has had the opportunity the see his young Marines mature into senior ranks and influence the future of the Marine Corps.
"You might be taking a group somewhere and run into that lance corporal that is now a gunnery sergeant, first sergeant or sergeant major," said Acevedo. "The quality of Marines that I’ve had the opportunity to work with and serve with. You see them grow and you talk to them and they even tell me that I set the example for them."
Throughout his career, Acevedo has served Marines and still continues to strive to do the best to serve Marines.
"It’s been a long ride," said Acevedo. "I truly have enjoyed every bit of it. (Both) on active duty and now presently working for the federal government. I’m just blessed to have this and my health and still be working."