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3d Marine Division


3d Marine Division

The Fighting Third

Okinawa, Japan
4th Marines comm platoon receives Lt. Col. Shea Award

By Cpl. Daniel Jean-Paul | III Marine Expeditionary Force | March 17, 2016


CAMP MUJUK, South Korea - Fourth Marine Regiment’s Communications Platoon received the Lt. Col. Kevin M. Shea Memorial Unit of the Year Award, March 4.

The Shea award was established in 2006 in honor of Lt. Col. Kevin M. Shea, who was killed in action in Iraq while serving as the communications officer for 1st Marine Regiment. The award recognizes the communications or information technology unit that made the most significant contributions to the Marine Corps' command, control, communications and computer field.

According to Gunnery Sgt. Jim Gibson, the communications chief with Communications Platoon, Headquarters Company, 4th Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, a platoon winning the award is not something that happens regularly.

“This award is usually awarded to companies or battalions, so the fact that we were able to win as a platoon speaks volumes to how efficient and hardworking we are,” said Gibson.

The Marines of Communications Platoon earned the award by sustaining a high operational tempo for a year. During that time, they facilitated the transition of 12 rotations of forward-deployed battalions throughout four countries, during four major exercises.

One of the major exercises Communications Platoon participated in was Integrated Training Exercise 2-15, the largest ITX in the Marine Corps to date. As the senior controlling communications agency, Communications Platoon planned the overall communications architecture and devised a communications plan to support multiple battalion assault courses and mechanized assault courses. The platoon facilitated consistent communication over distances as far as 30 kilometers, across two mountain ranges.

“In 24 years of service as a Marine officer, I have never observed a communications platoon more efficient and effective at completely every mission,” said Col. David Odom, 4th Marine Regiment’s commanding officer. “They never cease to amaze me. From the communications officer all the way down to the private, they are always out front and have exceeded my expectations from day one.”

The Marines of Communications Platoon didn’t just excel in a field environment; they also shined in garrison. They received a total of 24 Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals for immediately impacting communications operations, 13 Certificates of Commendations and seven Letters of Appreciation from external units. Along with awards and commendations, the platoon has been mishap free for the entire 2015 calendar year and received a 92% mission capability rating on the Logistics Readiness Inspections, only two weeks after returning from ITX 2-15.

“The key to our success is unit cohesion,” said Gibson. “You can see it in the number of extension packages we get every year; these Marines just really enjoy working together as a unit. And when you have a unit of Marines that enjoy working with each other, the end product is awesome.”