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Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Robert Neller, speaks to the audience during the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) Combined Awards Ceremony held May 11 at The Clubs at Quantico.

Photo by Adele Uphaus-Conner

Commandant of the Marine Corps presents 2015 Combined Awards

13 May 2016 | Adele Uphaus-Conner Marine Corps Base Quantico

Sixteen Marines were honored for their achievements last year at the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) Combined Awards Ceremony held May 11 at The Clubs at Quantico. Since 1995, the CMC Combined Awards have recognized the winners and runners-up of Marine Corps Recruiter, Prior Service Recruiter, Drill Instructor, Marine Security Guard, Career Planner, Marine Combat Instructor, and Athletes of the Year. The awards ceremony’s program noted that these jobs “exemplify the character and dedication to duty that are widely acknowledged as hallmarks of the Marine Corps.” The winners of these awards canvass the nation seeking prospective Marines, work to mold recruits from all walks of life into Marines, ensure that “every Marine is a rifleman,” maintain the strength of the service by promoting retention, represent Americans at embassies throughout the world, and embody the Corps’ warrior-athlete ethos. Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green presented the honorees with the Navy Marine Corps Commendation Medal. The winners also received gifts from the Marine Corps Association and Foundation, United Service Automobile Association, Geico, and the Fleet Reserve Association, which also sponsored a reception following the ceremony. In his remarks, Neller first thanked the honorees’ families. “You are the reason your Marine is here today,” he told assembled parents, spouses and children of the winners. Family members were also presented with certificates of appreciation. To the Marines, Neller offered his congratulations and gave them a task. “I have an expectation for you,” he said. “It’s that you continue to do what you are so good at but that you help others be successful as well. Make everyone around you better. That’s what leaders do. “You need to find that next person in your field and help them get to where you’re sitting today. If you all do that, this will be a great Marine Corps.” He concluded: “You all did good, but tomorrow is another day. The bar just went up.” Writer: This year’s winners of the CMC Combined Awards are: Career Planner: Gunnery Sgt. J.C. Gregory, Training and Education Command. Hometown: Lynchburg, Virginia. Sgt. K. Tabares, 2nd Recon Bn., 2nd Marine Division. Reserve Career Planner: Staff Sgt. Christopher Smith, 3rd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company. Hometown: Maryville, Tennessee. Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Watson, 4th Landing Support Battalion. Hometown: El Paso, Texas. Marine Security Guard: Staff Sgt. S.L. Sherbert, Det., Harare, Zimbabwe, Region 6 MSG. Staff Sgt. Angel Rojas, Det., Berlin Germany 8 HQ MSG. Athletes of the Year: Male: Capt. Bryce Saddoris, HQ & Spt Bn, Camp Lejeune. Hometown: Grand Junction, Colorado. Female: Capt. Christine Taranto, NPS Monterey, California. Hometown: Savannah, Georgia. Recruiter of the Year: Gunnery Sgt. F.L. Soto, RSS Granada Hills, RS Los Angeles, 12th Marine Corps District. Hometown: Los Angeles, California. Staff Sgt. G.L. Egler, RSS Lakewood, RS Cleveland, 4th MCD. Prior Service Recruiter of the Year: Gunnery Sgt. E.S. Gulbransen, Permanent Contact Station, Oklahoma City, 8th MCD. Hometown: Woodbury, New Jersey. Staff Sgt. G. Brawn, Permanent Contact Station, Virginia Beach, Virginia, 4th Marine Corps District. Drill Instructor of the Year: Gunnery Sgt. Miguel Cortes Jr., Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. Gunnery Sgt. Robert J. Leshinsky, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina. Marine Combat Instructor of the Year: Staff Sgt. Jonathon D. Manuel, School of Infantry -East, Training Command. Hometown: Marksville, Louisiana Staff Sgt. Albert J. Goodson, School of Infantry-West, Training Command. Hometown: Fayetteville, North Carolina.

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