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Sgt. Roberto Gonzalez with MWSS 373, and the reviewing officer for the 9/11 Warrior Recognition Evening Colors Ceremony speaks to guests aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Sept. 11. The ceremony was part of the the committed and engaged leadership initiative, which aims to empower noncommissioned officers with tasks they normally would not have the opportunity to perform.

Photo by Sgt. Frances Goch

3rd MAW remains committed, engaged for 9/11 colors ceremony

13 Sep 2013 | Cpl. Melissa Eschenbrenner

Each month, Maj. Gen. Steven Busby, commanding general of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, identifies a sergeant to take the role of reviewing officer for a colors ceremony, to demonstrate the abilities of the “VIP” of 3rd MAW, the noncommissioned officer.

Sgt. Roberto Gonzalez, the reviewing officer, with Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, stood before thousands of spectators and led the largest 3rd MAW evening colors ceremony ever, in remembrance of 9/11 and last year’s Camp Bastion attack.

The ceremony took place aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Sept. 11.

 It was a huge honor being selected for this ceremony in memory of 9/11 and the attack on Camp Bastion, explained Gonzalez.

 As part of the Committed and Engaged Leadership Initiative, Busby appoints a sergeant to assume a role usually granted to a senior officer, and given the size of this ceremony, it was a huge undertaking for Gonzalez, who organized and led it from start to finish.

“You see the common theme; Sgt. Atwell, Sgt. Meyer, [the ceremony] ran by a sergeant from MWSS-373, with 5,000 people in attendance from across the San Diego area,” said Busby. “That’s how important being a sergeant of Marines is to us. That’s why colors ceremonies are so important to us. It is a highly visible display of what a sergeant can do.”

The ceremony was held in honor of the victims of the 2001 terrorist attacks, the Camp Bastion attacks and all who were affected. It brought thousands of service members and families together to honor our nation’s heroes and remember their sacrifices.

“It should mean a lot to not only sergeants, but corporals,” said Gonzalez. “You know what they say; we are the backbone of the Marine Corps. We should be able to do anything.”

Many Americans can recall the day of the attack. Now, they can come together to remember the fallen victims and honor the heroes, added Gonzalez.

As the flag lowered and taps played, service members and families alike remembered and paid respects for those who fell victim to the attack all thanks to the steadfast devotion of Gonzalez. Marines, Sailors and families cheered and rose from their seat.

“I feel great,” said Gonzalez. “It really feels like I did something. Speaking in public is not easy but, it was so awesome doing it!”


3rd Marine Aircraft Wing