MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Noncommissioned officer of the quarter is an award chosen every three months throughout the calendar year. In 2019, four Marines from Marine Corps Tactical System Support Activity, Marine Corps Systems Command, were selected as Marine Corps Installations West’s top NCO every quarter, with one going on to win NCO of the year.
The winners include: Sgt. Megan Birge, a data systems administrator with Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School, Training Command; Sgt. Chandele Lloyd, a ground electronics telecommunications and information technology systems maintainer with MCTSSA; Sgt. Tania Gutierrez, an air support operations operator with MCTSSA; and Sgt. Anna Szyplik, a ground electronics transmission systems maintainer with MCTSSA. Szyplik was also selected as NCO of the year.
“MCTSSA has helped me be a better leader by not just the Marines that are here but by the contractors and civilian employees that work here,” said Llyod, the third quarter winner. “They can give you a different perspective on how things were then, what they did, and their experiences help build upon your knowledge while you're here.”
These Marines have set an outstanding example in the eyes of MCI-West, and yet their jobs and the mission of MCTSSA is not one that is well known.
“I see winning this as representing the little guy,” said Gutierrez, the second quarter winner. “MCTSSA is one of those behind-the-curtain units, so it doesn't get a lot of recognition but there's a lot of good work that goes on around here.”
MCTSSA is a full-scale laboratory facility on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. MCTSSA provides engineering, testing and evaluation, to include deployed technical support, for Marines and their missions. With approximately 300 Marines and DOD employees working together, MCTSSA provides support to Camp Pendleton and the Marine Corps as a whole.
“What we try to do day in and day out is keep the Marines in mind,” said Birge, the first quarter recipient. “Whenever we're testing something out, fixing something, running simulations, we always keep the Marines in mind to make them more capable.”
Szyplik, the fourth quarter winner, says because there are relatively few Marines at MCTSSA, one must take the initiative and work to gain more responsibility and stand out.
MCTSSA Marines work hard every day to test equipment to ensure the best and most efficient gear is going out to the Marines. The four Marines say they are trying to give everyone the knowledge to make the systems, the Marines, and the Marine Corps as a whole better.
“Knowledge is the greatest gift that we can give to anyone,” said Birge. “Why not make Marines more capable?”
The hard work and dedication of these four Marines has not gone unnoticed by those who work with them. Their behavior challenges not only their peers and subordinates, but it pushes senior enlisted and officers around them to be better.
“As the Marine Corps is shifting and aligning itself to the commandant’s planning guidance, it’s not going to get done unless we have extraordinary leaders at the NCO level,” said Col. Robert Bailey, the commanding officer for MCTSSA. “These Marines are examples of why the Marine Corps is going to be successful.”