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Retired Services and Pay (MMSR-6)

Another day in the Corps

By Sgt. Bradly Shaver and Capt. Dave Schreiner | | September 17, 2003

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Two Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 461 Marines were recognized in a promotion and reenlistment ceremony recently at Camp Ramrod, Ethiopia.

Corporal Jose A. RamirezVasquez, from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., was promoted to the rank of sergeant, and Gunnery Sgt. George S. Wiggins, from Swansboro, N.C., reenlisted for his last four years in the Marine Corps before retiring.

"This is a very proud day for me," said Sgt. Ramirez an Airframes Collateral Duty Inspector for HMH-461. "Being promoted while conducting operations in Ethiopia makes it even more memorable."

Ramirez has served under Wiggins, who is a 17-year veteran and has been with the squadron for the past six years working in the airframes division.

"This is a very memorable occasion for me as well," said Wiggins. "It's not everyday that someone gets to reenlist for the last time while forward deployed, especially in a place like Camp Ramrod, Ethiopia."

Even though this will be Wiggins' last four years in the military, he said the Marine Corps has treated him well and has given him many unforgettable memories during his time in service.

The HMH-461 squadron, nicknamed Ironhorse, deployed from Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C., in April to support CJTF-HOA's mission of detecting, disrupting and defeating transnational terrorist groups in the region, and support coalition partner efforts to deny the opportunity for reemergence of terrorist networks in the Horn of Africa.

With their CH-53E Super Stallions, the Marines of HMH-461 have been conducting joint operations in Djibouti and surrounding countries in the Horn of Africa, supporting the Global War on Terrorism.

"It is truly a privilege to reenlist and promote fine Marines such as Gunnery Sgt. Wiggins and Sgt. Ramirez in the field," said Maj. Robert Pridgen, HMH-461 executive officer. "These two, by this reenlistment and promotion, demonstrate a unique and personal dedication to duty not uncommon in our ranks. I am proud to be counted among them."

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