Marine Corps Community Services recognizes individual efforts
CAMP KINSER, OKINAWA, Japan v -- When service members return home with their unit from a deployment, they normally get a celebratory welcome. Family and friends usually hold banners and balloons, waiting to be reunited. However, service members who return individually rarely get to experience the unit-level welcome familiar to most Americans. Marine Corps Community Services works to give those individuals the same level of recognition for the crucial and dangerous mission they have completed.
Three Marines with 3rd Marine Logistics Group received MCCS Individual Augmentee Welcome Home packages May 13 at Camp Kinser.
Individual augmentees are service members who solely deploy with a unit outside their parent command to fill the position of a specialized skill in demand.
“When individual augmentees deploy, a lot of times they don’t have a return reunion as service members would have coming back from deployment with a unit,” said Joann Ninneman-Nakama, the community services coordinator for MCCS on Camp Kinser. “We want (individual augmentees) to be recognized for their efforts. That’s why this program was conceived.”
The Marines who were recognized May 13 include Cpl. Joel A. Gibbs, a landing support specialist, Sgt. Jennifer M. Moore, an administrative specialist, and Staff Sgt. Joseph R. Gonzales, the cargo air liaison element chief, all with Combat Logistics Regiment 37, 3rd MLG, III Marine Expeditionary Force. They received the packages after returning from a seven-month long deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.
“It’s a refreshing feeling knowing that the work I did there was appreciated,” said Gibbs, a Logansport, Ind., native.
Col. Edmund J. Bowen, regimental commanding officer of CLR-37, presented the packages on behalf of MCCS. They consisted of letters of appreciation from the assistant chief of staff of MCCS for Marine Corps Installations Pacific, as well as MCCS thank you coins and MCCS products and services.
The products and services included vouchers for meals, tours, plane tickets, bowling and outdoor recreation activities.
“All I expected to get was a simple ‘good job and welcome back,’” said Gonzales, an Idaho Falls, Idaho, native. “Out of five deployments, I’ve never received anything like this – it’s good.”