MARINE CORPS SYSTEMS COMMAND, QUANTICO, Va. -- “The Few, The Proud, The Marines” not only applies to the Marine in uniform, but also to Civilian Marines.
Barry Dillon, executive director of the Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM), personifies this description. For the second time in his career, Dillon is being honored with the Presidential Rank Award.
The MARCORSYSCOM executive will receive his 2006 award in the Distinguished category. Only one percent of senior professionals and executives may earn this award. This distinction is the highest professional honor for career members of the senior executive service, senior-level and scientific and professional communities.
With the annual Presidential Rank Award, the commander-in-chief recognizes select senior professionals and executives for their outstanding long-term accomplishments demonstrating exceptional service and a relentless commitment to the American public.
There are two categories of rank awards: Distinguished and Meritorious.
Dillon previously received the 1999 Presidential Rank Award in the Meritorious category. The Meritorious category honors no more than five percent of government senior executives for sustained career accomplishment. He has also received the Navy Civilian Superior Service Medal twice as well as receiving numerous performance awards throughout his distinguished 35-year career.
Always serving the systems development and acquisition communities, Dillon began his career at the Naval Air Systems Command in 1971, as the assistant avionics project officer for the A-6 Series of aircraft.
“I have enjoyed working inside these communities because I have always felt the importance and necessity of supporting our troops,” he said. “I have been fortunate within my career because I have always been given enough latitude and authority enabling me to make a difference.”
Attaining the highest Marine Civilian position within the command, Dillon joined MARCORSYSCOM in 2003.
MARCORSYSCOM’s mission is to serve as the Commandant's principal agent for acquisition and sustainment of systems and equipment used by the operating forces to accomplish their warfighting mission.
As Executive Director, Dillon assists Brig. Gen. Michael Brogan, MARCORSYSCOM’s commander, in the overall management of the command with special emphasis on the programmatic and business aspects of the acquisition programs.
“Mr. Dillon embodies the guiding principles of the command to include integrity, innovation, teamwork and excellence,” said Brogan. “His efforts have had a direct and lasting positive impact with saving Marines’ lives. His leadership and professionalism have been significant contributors to the success of our operating forces. His ethics and knowledge bring out the best in our organization.”
Under the Executive Director’s guidance, direction and aggressive style, MARCORSYSCOM urgently met the warfighters’ needs. More than 200 separate urgent needs from the fleet have been satisfied, with more than 200,000 items delivered to date. This included such “high-vis” programs as vehicle armoring and personal protective equipment.
Dillon and the staff were able to get 122 Cougar Explosive Ordnance Vehicles under contract within a two-week timeframe in response to the urgent needs of troops in Iraq.
“This was no small feat,” said Brogan.
“This job motivates me because I think what we do matters to young Marines,” said Dillon. “I want to bring them home safely and successfully. What they are doing is important to the country, and I like being apart of that.”
Calling from Iraq, Gen. Michael Hagee, former commandant of the Marine Corps, was the first person to share the news with the awardee.
He told Dillon that he was proud to have someone from the Marine Corps family receive this award.
“Gen. Hagee cares enormously for the welfare of our Marines, and he has a high place in my regard,” said Dillon. “It was an honor receiving the call. Thanking me for helping our Marines has made this experience special.”
“Everyday I go home with a feeling that this place made some difference for the Marine Corps. I love working here and going home with that feeling. I am lucky to be here, and this award is a reflection of everyone within the organization.”
One of President Ronald Reagan’s famous quotes from 1985 is displayed under the glass tabletop in Dillon’s office. It reads, “Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem.”