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Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Gregory Cannon, a corpsman with Marine Aircraft Group 16 and a St. Louis native, delivers a speech during an evening colors ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., Oct. 3. The ceremony celebrated the Navy’s 238th birthday, and so, Cannon instilled a renewed sense of Navy pride in the Sailors in attendance.

Photo by Cpl. Melissa Wenger

Sailor leads ceremony to recognize the Navy’s 238th birthday

3 Oct 2013 | Cpl. Melissa Wenger

In recent months, one sergeant from 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing captained the monthly colors ceremony aboard Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., as part of the Committed and Engaged Leadership campaign. The campaign, promoted throughout 3rd MAW by Maj. Gen. Steven Busby, the wing’s commanding general, empowers leadership at all levels and encourages a proactive approach to troop welfare.

This month, hundreds of Marines and Sailors celebrated the 238th birthday of the U.S. Navy with an evening colors ceremony here at Miramar Oct. 3.  Since this event honors the Navy, it only seemed right to have a petty officer second class act as the reviewing officer for the ceremony.

“I think it’s an honor and a great privilege to have that position,” said Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Gregory Cannon, a corpsman with Marine Aircraft Group 16 and a St. Louis native. “The Navy is going to be celebrating across the nation, and for me to do it here at Miramar in front of all the 3rd MAW Marines and Sailors is a great honor.”

The experience coordinating a widely reviewed ceremony taught Cannon some valuable lessons, which he says he can apply to putting together other events.

“You definitely can’t do everything yourself,” he said. “When you have a large event like this, you have to delegate and rely on other people for their skills and recommendations.”

Cannon also believes there are enthusiastic Marines and Sailors on every corner of the instillation with just those kinds of skills to lend to such a task.

“Reach out to the other petty officers second class and sergeants on the base, because there are some hard-chargers out there,” he said. “When we started this process and building this committee, I crossed paths with a couple of other hard-chargers ... and they were a very integral part in getting this ceremony going.”

Putting together this monthly event also confirmed to Cannon that he’s already doing something right as a leader.

“A lot of my junior Sailors are actually in this ceremony too, so they see my interaction with them on a daily basis, and they’re used to it,” he said.  “But when they see me apply those same techniques with other Sailors outside of our little command, they can see that those leadership skills are effective, and I think they respect me more now that they’ve seen me operate on a higher level.”

His advice to other noncommissioned officers and petty officers: don’t wait for those up top to lead things like this.

“Take charge in ceremonies, get involved with all the programming, get involved across the base, and do the things we get paid to do,” he said.  “Sometimes, we just let our superiors do it, but we need to take charge as sergeants and petty officers second class and initiate things and get them done so we can train up our junior troops.”