MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Leaders with Marine Wing Communications Squadron 28 hosted the Leonidas Award competition at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, N.C., March 5.
The competition pitted one noncommissioned officer and one junior Marine from each company within the squadron head-to-head during a week-long competition to see which two Marines from the NCO and junior Marine ranks would enter the squadron’s history as champions.
Competitors for the biannual award are selected by peers within their company.
Cpl. Duane Levy, a generator electrician with Headquarters & Service Company and Sgt. Roy Richardson, a radio operator with Company A, came out on top of the six Marine competition.
“The purpose of the Leonidas Awards is to know your equipment, know yourself and know each other,” said Lt. Col. Jaime Macias, the commanding officer of the squadron. “This is my favorite event we do all year because it is the Marines’ award, chosen by the Marines for the Marines.”
The competition tests the Marines’ physical abilities and understanding of the Marine Corps. First is the military skills event, second is a physical fitness event and finally, a board.
“Following the three events, we do a culminating physical event, a 10-mile squadron conditioning hike, followed by a warriors feast to celebrate,” said Macias, a native of Queens, N.Y.
According to Macias, the Leonidas Award is unique to MWCS-28 and initially began as a way for squadron leaders to enhance operational readiness while building unit cohesion through friendly competition.
“This is not something that every squadron does, which makes it that much more significant,” said Macias. “The Marines leave the event with a sense of pride in their unit and themselves.”
According to Levy, H&S Company junior Marine winner, the Leonidas Award competition is important because it brings the ranks together to accomplish a common goal.
“We are here as representatives of our entire company,” said Levy, a native of Washington, D.C. “It is not only about being recognized, it is about building unit cohesion and showing pride in what you do. I look forward to representing my company and my squadron for the next six months.”
According to Richardson, Company A NCO winner, the competition brings hope and motivates junior Marines when they have something to work toward and leaders to look up to.
“I am proud to stand before my fellow Marines as a leader,” said Richardson, a native of Wilmington, N.C. “Being the NCO representative allows me to demonstrate to my junior Marines that everything I require of them, I also require of myself.”