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C4 holds its first awards dinner

By Cpl. Brian Buckwalter | | April 9, 2004

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More than 400 people attended the first Command, Control, Communications, and Computers (C4) Awards Dinner Thursday, April 1.  The event, held at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, recognized achievements of the top Marine Captain and civilian Marine in the C4 community.  Gen. Michael W. Hagee, Commandant of the Marine Corps, was the guest of honor.  Also in attendance was the director of C4, Brig. Gen. John R. Thomas and the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, retired Gen. Alfred M. Gray.

"It brought the C4 community together for the first time and in a very special way.  It was a watershed moment for the Marine Corps C4 community to finally have all the various attributes together in one place," said assistant dinner coordinator, Brian Chapin.

Gen. Hagee said C4 is very important to continued success of the Marine Corps.

"The battle field is chaotic, it's uncertain, it's complex, it's very, very dangerous, and there's an awful lot of fog and friction out there.  To operate on such a battlefield we have to have individuals that are agile, flexible, adaptable, and be able to create tempo.  Our communication platforms, our computers, give us that capability," Gen. Hagee said during his speech.

During the ceremony, two people received awards for their efforts as communicators.

The first award, The James Hamilton Information Technology Management Civilian Marine of the Year Award, was given to Mr. Steven Page, a civilian Marine "who (during 2003) demonstrated the most noteworthy acts of leadership and technological innovation in the field of information technology management," said SES Mrs. Debra M. Filippi, deputy director of C4.

Steven Page works for the Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Command.

According to Mrs. Filippi, "he was selected because of his outstanding contributions to improving the Marine Corps Enterprise Network."

Mr. Page's contributions impacted every unit in the operating forces and his relentless march toward improved readiness and preparedness in the face of incredibly demanding operational tempo is symbolic of his professionalism and technical competence.

Mr. Hamilton's daughter, Sherry Hamilton-Geiger, and his granddaughter Krista, assisted in presenting the award.

The next award was the Gray Trophy for Outstanding Command and Control Systems Leadership.  This is presented yearly to a Marine captain.

This year's recipient was Capt. Brett Hyla.  While in Iraq, he was manning a command and control tent during a night attack.  He was able to maintain communications links during direct fire and incoming mortar rounds, and took over responsibility for organizing troops into defensive positions.

"His efforts allowed the 28 Marines and civilians wounded in the battle to be evacuated successfully," said Brig. Gen. Thomas.  "Also, in the weeks and months leading up to Iraqi Freedom he did a stellar job from a logistical standpoint of making sure all the right equipment was put together, and that the right Marines were assembled in the right places to get there."

Brig. Gen. Thomas said during the presentation "he clearly distinguished himself through exemplary performance, stellar leadership, and exceptional initiative in the heat of combat."

"I felt honored and humbled. To receive this award from these leaders, who have so dynamically shaped the Marine Corps, was a once in a lifetime experience," said Hyla.  "The Gray Trophy may well be the highlight of my career, but I won it only because of the hard work and dedication of the Marines who worked with me." 

Each candidate for both awards was "viewed not through the prism of a single event, but through sustained excellence throughout 2003," said Chapin.

The Hamilton award was created in 2003 as part of the effort for improved professional development for civilian Marines, said Chapin.  He added that the award is named after the late James Hamilton because of his combined 50 years of active duty and civilian service for the Marine Corps in the information and technology field.

The Gray trophy was created in 2000.  It was named after Gen. Gray because "of the combination of his outstanding contributions as Commandant of the Marine Corps and his one-time role as a communications officer.  He is very beloved among his Marines," said Chapin.

The dinner was the result of hard work by several individuals over the course of many months, especially by lead coordinator Christopher Cannavaro.

"It went very well," said Chapin.  "The dinner was enjoyed by all that attended and we're already talking about how we can improve the event for next year."


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