La Jolla, Calif. -- The Marine Corps Aviation Association held its 46th Annual Symposium and Awards Banquet at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in La Jolla, California, May 19.
The MCAA awards program was founded in 1962 and since then has recognized excellence in Marine aviation through education, activities, media, events and its awards program. It is the largest aviation based award program with 29 awards which recognizes Marines of all ranks who are nominated by their superiors and vetted through Headquarters Marine Corps.
The 2017 MCAA awards ceremony guest speaker was the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Glenn Walters. The ceremony guest list included the Aviation Awards winners and their families, along with the Deputy Commandant for Aviation, Lt. Gen. Jon M. Davis. The Commanding General of 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Maj. Gen. Mark Wise attended as well as the Commanding Officer of Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Col. Jason Woodworth.
During the ceremony, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps spoke with great pride in Marine Corps aviation.
“Marine Corps aviation faces challenges but we’re going to overcome them,” said Gen. Glenn Walters. “We’re going to be successful.”
3rd MAW won six individual awards and three squadron awards.
The individual awards included:
• Marine Air Command and Control Officer of the Year to Capt. Michael Jacobellis of 3rd Low Altitude Air Defense Battalion (LAAD BN), Marine Air Control Group (MACG) 38.
• Marine Flight Student of the Year to 1st Lt. Samantha Sirois of Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron 303, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39.
• Enlisted Marine Aircrew of the Year to Sgt. Cameron Koerner of Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 466, MAG-16
• Avionics Marine of the Year to Staff Sgt. Christopher Norman of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron (MALS) 39, MAG-39
• Command and Control Marine of the Year to Master Sgt. Lance Gruben of 3rd LAAD BN, MACG-38
• Aviation Ground Marine of the Year to Sgt. Jordan Mercado of Marine Wing Support Squadron 373, MAG-11.
Squadron awards included:
• Marine Aerial Refueler/Transport Squadron of the Year to Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 352
• Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron of the Year to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 267
• Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron of the Year to MALS-39.