Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA --
While serving as company first sergeant, Service Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion (H&SBn), 35-year-old. 1st Sgt. Juan Abrego was selected among hundreds of nominations by the Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association (AFCEA) as recipient of the Military Information Technology Leadership Award. The award was presented May 18 at the Army Navy Country Club in Arlington, Virginia.
Joining Abrego in presentation of his award was H&SBn leadership: Col. Todd Oneto, commanding officer; Sgt. Maj. Thomas Johnson, battalion sergeant major; and Capt. Robert Altman, commanding officer, Service Company.
“When I received notification of being nominated, I honestly believed I received spam mail, but after I went online and Goggled AFCEA DC Military IT Leadership Award, I realized that it was in fact a real award,” Abrego said. “I walked over to my commanding officer’s office, telling Capt. Altman that I received notification of being selected and with much enthusiasm he said that’s great.”
It was at that point Altman notified Abrego that he had nominated him for the award.
Abrego was inspired to join the Marine Corps after watching the pride his cousin showed when he returned from boot camp in the summer of 1997.
According to Abrego his interest in information technology started with his intrigue of video game development and design.
However, it was not until he stepped into the recruiter’s office with that he learned about the many possibilities of careers within the Marine Corps’ communications field.
It was then that he requested a Military Occupational Specialty in the communications field and was assigned as a 2531 field radio operator.
“I was fortunate to be assigned to the communications field and was blessed to serve as a communicator for 16 years,” Abrego said.
The purpose of the award was to recognize outstanding service members for their leadership and decisive bravery while contributing to information technology excellence in aid of their fellow war fighters.
A total of 14 awards were presented at the ceremony, including one enlisted and one officer from each of the armed services, plus another four service members (two enlisted, two officers) who were in joint billets, based on service from the 2016 calendar year.
The award was determined by AFCEA’s executive selection board comprised of retired general and flag officers from all services.
“1st Sgt. Abrego, over his many years of service, has contributed greatly to the efficiency and effectiveness of the war fighter; however, this award was limited to his contributions during calendar year 2016,” said Altman. “In 2016, while deployed in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, 1st Sgt. Abrego served as a battle captain to a Marine Special Operations Company, where he established and maintained battle tracking systems for multiple special operations maneuver elements.”
According to Altman, Abrego’s talents led to the ability to give real-time updates to higher headquarters during all operations as he coordinated and led construction of the Special Operations Tactical Operation Center from a single computer to a robust network capable of running all communications systems, tracking systems and ability to view all types of feeds.
“However, these are only a few of his contributions, his servant leadership, his commitment to his brother and sister Marines, and dedication to duty allowed higher headquarters to have better situational awareness of all friendly domestic and foreign units and allowed the war fighter to focus more fully on their mission,” said Altman. “1st Sgt. Abrego’s commitment not only set the example for those who come after him, but set the standard for them to maintain.”
It was with much gratitude Abrego thanked the Quantico community for the blessings of such recognition.