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Twentynine Palms

Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center

Twentynine Palms, California
Marine receives Lejeune Award for great leadership

By Lance Cpl. Monica C. Erickson | | November 2, 2007

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The Navy League of the United States hosted their 105th annual national convention with a Sea Services Award Luncheon at the Marriott Resort in Palm Desert, Calif., Nov. 2 to award service members for their accomplishments.

 More than 300 people filled the room to watch as many service members received awards due to their hard work and dedication.

 Among the service members receiving awards was Marine Capt. Justin Miller, 6th Engineer Support Battalion instructor. Miller received the Lt. Gen. John A. Lejeune Award for inspirational leadership by keeping his Marines in high spirits during his previous deployment to Iraq.

 “My old executive officer submitted me,” said Miller. “I had no idea he was going to do that for me.”

 According to the award citation, Miller was acting as the officer in charge with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, Marine Wing Support Group 37, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, during their deployment to the Western Al Anbar Province of Iraq.

 His planning and supervision directly contributed to the successful completion of two helicopter landing zone projects, which enhanced the safety and capacity of the airfield.

 Miller and his Marines also dispensed more than 1.2 million gallons of fuel to more than 4,000 aircrafts and conducted more than 150 counter-improvised explosive

 device missions, keeping supply routes safe for condition convoys.

 The citation also noted Millers total dedication to the welfare of the Marines stationed at the outpost, and ensuring absolute mission accomplishment while maintaining a level of morale and esprit de corps.

 Miller explained that without the occasional contact with loved ones, the Marines could easily get depressed and lose morale and focus less on the job they were assigned to do.

 “We didn’t have anything out there,” said Miller. “No phones, not anything to keep my Marines motivated.

 “I had some great staff noncommissioned officers,” he continued. “We did everything we could to try to keep my Marines happy.”

 Miller and the Marines under him frequently assisted other units during their deployment, including every Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion and 1st Tanks Battalion.

 “We did such a good job at keeping everybody’s morale up,” said Miller. “When they were asked if they wanted to rotate out to a different forward operating base with phones and contact to the outside world, they didn’t want to go because they liked what they were doing and they knew they were making a difference.”

 Miller mentioned three other Marines who helped him during their deployment: Gunnery Sgt. Markus Caldwell, Marine Wing Support Squadron 374; Staff Sgt. James Cassidy, expeditionary airfield Marine; and Gunnery Sgt. David Alexander, explosive ordinance device technician.

 “To get an award for inspirational leadership is saying I was the only one doing

 all the work,” said Miller. “I wasn’t doing it by myself, I had my staff NCO’s and

 sergeants there helping me.”

 Miller mentioned he would send a note, thanking everyone who helped him receive the award.


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