A Mariner High School graduate recently received the 2011 Marine Corps Enlisted Logistician of the Year Award through the Marine Corps Association and Foundation.
Sgt. James M. Ward was presented with the award on March 29. Another Marine, civilian and unit were also honored the same night.
LeeAnn Mitchell, director of Events and Foundation Development and Operations, said the awards have been given out for the past eight years. The individual is nominated by his or her unit or battalion chief by submitting paperwork and the reason for designating the choice. The board then decides from among the nominations.
The 2012 Marine Corps Association and Foundation Ground Logistics Awards dinner was held at Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, Va., in front of a more than 560 Marines, family members, friends and sponsors - a record for attendance.
Ron Ward, Sgt. Ward's grandfather, said he has never been around so many people who cared about other people, which is what he experienced at the awards dinner.
"I am so proud of him," Ron said of his grandson.
James' father Michael also attended the ceremony.
"He took the time to go up there," Ron said. "He's a good father and a good soldier himself."
According to the Marine Crops Association and Foundation website, Marines who have been nominated for this award "have developed concepts, doctrine, technology or procedures that contribute to logistics transformation." They also have "demonstrated continual resourcefulness and responsiveness by meeting operational and or strategic challenges."
James, who was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, in August 1988, graduated from Mariner High School in June 2006 after moving to Pine Island in 1990.
Ron said James has a great history on the island, which included being an Eagle Scout.
Ron moved to Pine Island with his family in 1979 after he built a home.
"James made the best of things," his grandfather said. "He overcame everything."
Once he graduated from high school, James attended Florida Gulf Coast University for a year before he decided to enlist in the Marine Corps.
Ron said when James enlisted, he did not tell anybody. He said James was working 60 hours a week at a pizza restaurant, which led him to wanting more and eventually enlisting in the service.
Ron said he remembers when Michael asked him if he would chip in half of the money to help James build his own car. He said James gave back the money and more once he completed his project.
"Someone with that much character is going to make it," Ron remembered thinking.
James attended recruit training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C., with the Alpha Company, First Recruit Training Battalion. From there he reported to the School of Infantry, Camp Geiger, N.C., for Marine Combat Training.
In August 2007, James graduated from Basic Logistics Embarkation Specialist Course and was assigned to the 9th Engineer Support Battalion at Camp Hansen in Okinawa, Japan. While he was at Camp Hansen he was promoted to lance corporal and corporal and was a part of the battalion deployments in support of Pacific Command Security Cooperation exercises, Korean Interoperability Training Program and Bangladesh Interoperability Program.
James deployed to Camp Al Taqaddam in Al Anbar Province in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 8.2. He was responsible for the transpiration of $4 million of class IV materials for numerous missions in the Al Anbar Province.
During that same deployment he was also responsible for more than 200 ISO containers, along with supervising them when they were turned in.
Ron said James arrived at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton on April 4 for the U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command. He said it is a new outfit to enable the Marine Corps to have a unit.
"There is a need for a special force," Ron said. "He can do it, he is very athletic and modest."