MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Three II Marine Expeditionary Force units stood proud as they were presented the Lieutenant General “Chesty” Puller Outstanding Leadership Award May 23.
“We are in times right now where we need every single of one of you, every single day of the week,” said Lt. Gen. James F. Amos, commanding general, II Marine Expeditionary Force, as he presented the large unit award to Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, in a ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
Epitomizing the essence of the Puller Award, 2nd Combat Engineer Battalion, 2nd Marine Division received the medium unit award for the second time.
“I have incredible non-commissioned officers, who took this as a personal challenge,” said Lt. Col. David A. Ottignon, 2nd CEB commanding officer, of the Marines and sailors in his command. “In those critical 90 days coming off a deployment, we have had zero incidents, not because of me, but because of the enlisted leadership beginning with my (non-commissioned officers).”
Amos agreed, calling them one of his safest units, and congratulating them on their continued success.
In a separate ceremony aboard the air station, the small unit award was presented to 2nd MAW’s Marine Electronic Attack Squadron 1 assigned to Marine Aircraft Group 14.
Amos reiterated this award is not all about safety. In 2005, as a part of II MEF’s Force Preservation Plan, the commanding general was searching for an answer to the question, “How do you recognize excellence?” From that came the idea of the Puller Awards.
“This is not a safety award,” said Amos. “However, units who set superior unit standards and distinguish themselves in key leadership areas such as learning, mentorship, family readiness and innovative training will see an increase in personnel safety naturally fall into place,” said the commanding general.
Named after a legendary highly-decorated Marine, the unit award not only emphasizes the high level of leadership and unit safety, but looks at their retention rates, training statistics, mission accomplishment, safety and force preservation of their Marines and sailors.
“I wanted to honor the best-led units of the MEF, recognizing them publicly and thanking them publicly,” said Amos. “I wanted to recognize their superior leadership.”