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Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton

"The West Coast's Premier Fleet Marine Force Training Base"

Veteran of the Year recognized for dedication

By Lance Cpl. Michelle S. Mattei | | December 28, 2010

Through hard work and dedication, one man has been a driving force and inspiration to the Military Officers Association of America Pendleton Chapter and the entire Marine Corps.

Each year, Camp Pendleton nominates one admirable representative to hold the honorary title of Veteran of the Year for the base. This year, Angel Aviles, a man who cannot merely be described as an active participant in the MOAA, was selected with the honor.

Retired U.S. Coast Guard Chief Warrant Officer 2 Angel Aviles was born in the Bronx in 1937. He first served in the U.S. Army in 1953-1955 and then served in the Coast Guard from 1955-1974.

From the Korean and Vietnam wars, to assisting with the aftermath of 9/11, Aviles’s dedication to the nation is just a sheer representation of the depth of his commitment to the country. In 1967, Aviles received the Purple Heart medal for being wounded in both legs by a rocket propelled grenade, and earned two Bronze Stars, one with “V” device for valor and bravery in the face of the enemy.

“It’s not always about being the strong man,” said Aviles. “Dedication has to come from the heart and soul.”

After Aviles’s years of service in the military, he obtained a formal education in criminal justice and worked for the U.S. Customs Service as an Inspector from 1975-1979. Following that, he became a Special Agent for the Treasury Department and served as a Special Agent until his retirement in 1995.

After the 9/11 disaster, he returned to the Department of Justice as a Special Investigator to give a helping hand to those in need after the attack. He worked in this field until 2005. Today, Aviles serves the nation as an Intelligence Officer for the Federal Law Enforcement Association, forever contributing his experiences and knowledge to society.

“On paper it always looks like I have done a lot,” said Aviles. “But it’s not always about the written accomplishments; it’s more about the lives I’ve affected through my service.”

Aviles continuously contributes to various organizations on and off Camp Pendleton through the MOAA Pendleton Chapter, and has been president of the organization for the past two years.

“It is with a great deal of pride that I send our Pendleton Chapter’s congratulations to Aviles for being selected as Veteran of the Year 2010,” said James L. Hester, membership chairman of the MOAA Pendleton Chapter. “I know Aviles must feel a great sense of pride for being selected for this honorable position. Many have contributed so much during their military careers, but his dedication made him stand out above the rest.”

Aviles’s accomplishments as a service member, as well as his perseverance as the president of the association are the grounds for his selection as Veteran of the Year. Aviles received notary letters of appreciation and a “Veteran of the Year” medal from the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center of San Diego for his commitment.

"We all work hard to succeed in our goals, but Angel has exceeded his goals and is now being recognized for all his efforts,” said Hester. “We will look forward to bigger and better things for him as the coming months give us new challenges and hopes for success.”