MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – Staff Sgt. Mariel A. Kurland, an aircraft ordnance technician with Marine Light Attack Helicopter Training Squadron (HMLAT) 303, Marine Aircraft Group (MAG) 39, 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, received the Sergeant Major Valerie Camacho Award for being a role model of exceptional dedication and leadership, Nov. 6, 2023. The MAG-39 Women’s Leadership and Education Committee recognized Kurland and other awardees during the seventh iteration of the annual Leadership and Education Symposium, Oct. 25-26, 2023.
The award is named in honor of Sgt. Maj. Valerie Camacho, a former sergeant major of Marine Corps Air Station Camp Pendleton, who is said to exemplify the utmost esprit de corps. Kurland, a Herndon, Virginia native, earned the award through her commitment to mentorship and the professional development of junior Marines at HMLAT-303's Ordnance Division. She wove structured training, mentorship sessions, and professional counseling into the division’s daily battle rhythm. Kurland also led impromptu classes to meet technical proficiency syllabus requirements, sharing her extensive knowledge and experience with those under her charge.
“I am honored that my command recognized me, and I am appreciative,” Kurland said. “It shows the next generation of Marines that their hard work definitely pays off. You’re always going to have challenges, but it shouldn’t be something that holds you back, it should be something that propels you forward.”
Kurland’s impact is evident in the achievements of her Marines and the squadron, and includes a meritoriously promoted sergeant, a meritoriously promoted corporal, two Marines of the Quarter, one Corporal’s Course honor graduate, and numerous squadron award recipients.
“Sgt. Maj. Camacho was one of the Marines that spearheaded the Women’s Leadership and Education Committee and established an environment for women to reach out, understand and help mentor each other,” said Col. Jeremie N. Hester, commanding officer of MAG-39. “Staff Sgt. Kurland is the perfect recipient of this award because of her mentorship and leadership she shows to her junior Marines.”
The Women’s Leadership and Education Committee, established in 2015, ensures Marines and Sailors of all ranks and leadership levels across MAG-39 receive mentorship, empowerment, and an all-inclusive environment to maximize talents, abilities, leadership, and knowledge.