AL ASAD, Iraq -- The “Banshees” of Marine Tactical Electronic Squadron 1 proved that they know what it takes to get the job done and take care of their Marines.
The Banshees were recently awarded the Lt. Gen. “Chesty” Puller Award for Outstanding Unit Leadership in the small unit category.
“Through their comprehensive efforts over the past six months, the professionals of VMAQ-1 have achieved excellence in combat readiness, force preservation, risk management and mission accomplishment,” said Lt. Col. Ronald Neff, the VMAQ-1 commanding officer. “They are most deserving of recognition with the prestigious Lt. Gen. “Chesty” Puller Award.”
The award, which was created to recognize all units/commands under II Marine Expeditionary Force that have demonstrated superior force preservation by reducing on and off duty mishaps, is presented semi-annually to organizations, according to II MEF Order 5100.2.
The units are monitored in 12 different areas ranging from training readiness to safety.
“The squadron aggressively pursued excellence in combat readiness, proficiency and operational execution from April 1 to September 30,” said Neff, the Salt Lake City, Utah, native.
For the Banshees, this is their second consecutive award. In addition to this prestigious title, they were also the first squadron in II MEF to receive this award.
“It was a great honor to win it the first time, but to win it again is a true testament to the professionalism and capabilities of these Marines,” said Neff. “With all the competition out there, it really says a lot to win it twice in a row.”
Neff believes that the squadron’s success comes from the bottom up, which he attributes to the Non-Commissioned Officer Leadership Program.
“This is a squadron full of professionals, who have high standards, great leadership and demand a lot of themselves,” said Neff.
In addition to good leadership, the Marines are successful because of great morale and love of the job, according to Sgt. Maj. George Espinosa, the VMAQ-1 sergeant major.
“The biggest reason for our success is the level of enthusiasm and love for what the Marines do,” said the St. Croix, Virgin Islands, native. “They really enjoy what they do. They are always talking about working on the planes.”
Although the Banshees have taken the award twice, they are not arrogant about their success.
“We know that there are many outstanding units in the MEF,” said Neff. “(The Banshees) are very humble, they don’t do (their job) just to win awards. They like it here and work hard. We will always be competitive.”