MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Eighth Communications Battalion, II Marine Expeditionary Force, received the 2009 Kevin M. Shea Memorial Unit Award from the Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. James T. Conway, during the Command, Control, Communications and Computers awards dinner in Arlington, Va., April 29, 2010.
The Kevin M. Shea Memorial Unit Award was named in honor of Lt. Col. Shea, a communications officer who was killed on Sep. 14, 2004, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The award is given annually to a unit that distinguishes itself by making exceptional contributions to the Marine Corps in the “C-4” field.
Back aboard Camp Lejeune the following week, the entire battalion assembled on Soifert Field, and Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, the II MEF commanding general, not only congratulated the unit, but also three Marines in the battalion who recieved individual awards.
Capt. Robert Featherstone, a communications officer who served as the executive officer for a communications company that recently deployed with Marine Expeditionary Brigade - Afghanistan to Helmand province, received the Alfred M. Gray Trophy. The Gray Trophy, named after a former commandant of the Marine Corps, recognizes one Marine captain every year for outstanding contributions to the communications mission.
Featherstone said he was humbled after receiving the award.
“I only got it because I’ve got some hard-charging Marines who made something out of nothing every time I asked them to do it,” said Featherstone. “I have five staff noncommissioned officers that drove everything daily, based on the priorities that I established.”
The second individual award, Enlisted Logistician of the Year, was presented to Gunnery Sgt. Michael A. Bandy, a motor transport operations chief who also deployed with MEB-A. The award is given each year to an enlisted Marine who has demonstrated continual logistical resourcefulness and responsiveness by meeting operational and strategic challenges, according to Marine Corps order 1650.45A.
Finally, Cpl. Wesley Blake, an electronics technician with the battalion, won a Copernicus Award, which is given by the Armed Forces Communications Electronics Association to service members in the Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy that have performed superbly in the communications field.
Lt. Col. Desmond A. Reid, the commanding officer of 8th Comm., said in 2009 alone, the Marines in his battalion were spread across the globe, including places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa, South America and Europe, and he commended them for giving their all during every mission, no matter the location.
“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,” said Reid. “Our readiness was very high, and everybody contributed to this team being successful. Up to fifty percent of the battalion was deployed, and we brought everybody back home safely.”