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From left: Col. George M. Dallas, Carol Wilander, Lt. Gen. James Amos and Sgt. Maj. James Futrell display the award and citation that was presented to the general’s secretary for her dedication to the Marine Corps Combat Development Command on May 29, 2008.

Photo by Sgt. Danielle M. Bacon

Secretary nears 40 years of service

26 Apr 2013 | Pfc. Samuel Ellis Marine Corps Base Quantico

Sometimes it’s easy to recognize the accomplishments of prominent figures, but it’s often the people in support roles who make those accomplishments possible. With nearly 40 years of service, Carol Wilander, command support specialist for Lt. Gen. Richard Mills, the commanding general, Marine Corps Combat Development Command, has long been one of those people.

“I’ve known Carol for nine years,” said Erik Doyle, director of operations, Combat Development and Integration at MCCDC. “She learns about people, what they like and who they are as only a true friend does.”

Wilander, a military wife and mother of two, will reach 40 years of civil service in December. She said her career started with a conversation with her dad.

“My father told me, ‘you will work for the railroad or the federal government, ’” Wilander said. “I’m glad I listened.”

She has worked with three different branches of the military: the Army, the Navy and the Marine Corps.

She is attentive, detailed, devoted, dedicated and caring, said Col. Terence Brennan, chief of staff of MCCDC/ Combat Development & Integration. She is the lifeline of this command by organizing eight generals’ schedules and keeping everything in her office working efficiently.

“The Marine Corps is my heart,” said Wilander. “I’m even married to a Marine.”

Her service to the country is not the only thing characterized by her passion. Those who know her, all say the same thing:

“She is huge into the Young Marine program,” said Brennan. 

“She’s put many miles on her car delivering items to young Marines,” said Pamela Hartzog, office services support assistant at MCCDC.

According to their website, the Young Marine program is designed for children ages eight through the end of high school that assists in their “mental, moral and physical” development and “promotes a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.”

Irreplaceable seems to describe a woman who only thinks of others and does it with a smile. Consequently it’s a good thing the Minnesota native plans on putting in a few more years before she retires.


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