MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Second Radio Battalion was recently honored with two esteemed awards. While the unit received the 2009 Lt. Gen. Chesty Puller Award (Medium Unit for Overall Command Excellence), Staff Sgt. James R. Courteau, a crypto logic linguist with the battalion, was named not only 2009 Marine Corps Linguist of the Year, but also Linguist of the Year for the entire Department of Defense.
The Puller Award recognizes a unit with II Marine Expeditionary Force who sustained superior performance and overall command excellence in force preservation during the previous fiscal year. In 2009, 2nd Radio Bn. was second to none in their ability to keep Marines safe and ready for military operations worldwide.
Lt. Gen. Dennis J. Hejlik, commanding general of II MEF, presented the award and had encouraging words for the battalion.
“You should be proud that you’re a little bit more mature, you’re a little bit smarter, you know what you’re doing, and you’re sought after,” said Hejlik. “But, now that you have this award, I expect you to do even more – you know that – it’s just the way Marines do things.”
Lt. Col. Jerry Carter, 2nd Radio Bn. commanding officer, said the award was particularly special because since 2003, the unit has been on a rigorous deployment rotation, spending seven months overseas and only five months home each year.
“It takes many people to make a tremendous battalion, and from the staff all the way down to the lowest man in the ranks, we have a number of standout Marines,” explained Carter. “I couldn’t be more proud of the Marines and sailors that serve in this battalion.”
One of the standouts Carter spoke of is Courteau, who speaks, reads and writes Arabic, Persian Farsi and Dari. After being chosen as the top linguist in the Marine Corps for 2009, Courteau went up against the best linguists from each other military service, and was chosen as the DoD Linguist of the Year. This is second year in a row a Marine from 2nd Radio Bn. received the award.
“It was awesome to be recognized for what I’ve done, but to me it’s just doing my job,” said Courteau. “This award is not just for me, it’s for everyone that I’ve worked with in my career…both my leaders since I started in the Marine Corps, as well as the Marines under me.”
Though Courteau and the Marines of 2nd Radio Bn. humbly claim they were just doing their jobs, those who have observed their work know the battalion has gone above and beyond.
“I can tell by watching what you do when you deploy globally that this is a great unit,” said Hejlik. “I believe you are the premier signals intelligence unit in the Marine Corps, and I venture to say the DoD.”