CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- “7th ESB continues to adapt to any threat our nation faces either ashore or afloat,” said Brig. Gen. Bobbi Shea, Commanding General of 1st MLG. “Even today, at our Mountain Warfare Training Center in Bridgeport, California, in elevations over a mile high, our engineers are building non-standard bridging projects to increase tactical vehicle access to the training areas.”
“We have a great team here in the 1st MLG,” said Shea. “That team is what gives me confidence, gives me optimism and enables me to stay faithful - to be Semper Fidelis.”
The 2020 Marine Corps Engineer Association Awards Banquet was cancelled due to COVID-19 precautions. 1st MLG recognized the award recipients for their extraordinary accomplishments during the ceremony with command representatives and family members present.
The Marines awarded at the ceremony included:
Gunnery Sgt. Seth Strait received the Marine Corps Engineer Association Explosive Ordnance Disposal Technician of the Year award for his service as the EOD response element leader with Special Purpose Marine Air Ground Task Force - Crisis Response - Central Command, Operational Detachment Alpha, from April to October 2019. Strait provided essential guidance and training for U.S. Special Operation Forces and local security personnel and exploited over 20 improvised explosive device components and electronics among other achievements.
Staff Sgt. Clayton Leverenz received the Marine Corps Engineer Association Bulk Fuel Staff Noncommissioned Officer of the Year award for service as the officer in charge of 1st Plt, Bulk Fuel Company, from April 2019 to March 2020. Staff Sgt. Leverenz supervised multiple bulk fuel exercises including the planning and establishment of a beach unloading site that transferred over 200,000 gallons of product from a vessel at sea to bulk liquid storage ashore.
Cpl. Zachariah Kable received the Marine Corps Association and Foundation Motor Transportation Operations Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award for work as a vehicle recovery team leader with Motor Transport Plt., Engineer Support Company, from October 2018 to September 2019. Cpl. Kable operated five variants of tactical vehicles traveling 7,405 miles while transporting 3,674,255 lbs. of cargo and 304 personnel over 1,224 hours.
Cpl. Jonathan Vargas received the Marine Corps Engineer Association Engineer Equipment Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award for work as platoon sergeant with Operations Platoon, Company B, from April 2019 to March 2020. Cpl. Vargas completed two 400-mile convoys and completed critical repairs to engineer and motor transport vehicles, which enabled the unit to repair 6,100 feet of road aboard the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center.
Cpl. Jennifer Perez received the Marine Corps Engineer Association Utilities Marine of the Year award for work as a water support technician with Utilities Platoon, Engineer Support Company, from April 2019 to March 2020. While assigned to Special Purpose Marine Air Ground task Force - Central Command - Crisis Response, Cpl. Perez managed the maintenance of 35 principal end items worth over $3 million and maintained the equipment readiness above 90 percent. She also conducted over 200 hours of Female Engagement Team instruction on proper procedures for tactical search and seizure.
Marines also awarded, but not present at the ceremony included:
Staff Sgt. Tyler Strawser received the Marine Corps Engineer Association Combat Engineer Staff Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award for work as operations chief and acting platoon commander with Company A from April 2019 to March 2020. During this time, Staff Sgt. Strawser provided extensive training and planning in support of Operation Border Support, Task Force Koa Moana 20 and Exercise Green Dagger as well as conducting multiple reconnaissance operations, among other achievements. He is currently assigned to Recruiting Station Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Cpl. Gioacchino D’Acquisto received the Marine Corps Engineer Association Engineer Equipment Marine of the Year award for his work as an engineer equipment operator with Engineer Equipment Platoon, Engineer Support Company, from April 2019 to March 2020. Cpl. D’Acquisto safely operated a degraded motorized road grater for over 210 hours during a 14-day exercise Eager Lion in Jordan, thereby improving over 4 miles of road, among other achievements. He is currently assigned to Heavy Equipment Platoon, 7th Engineer Support Battalion, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I Marine Expeditionary Force.