A committee named a Lakeland, Fla., native the Military Times Marine of the year during a ceremony on Capitol Hill July 14.
Staff Sgt. David E. Vogt III, the assistant legal chief for the office of the staff judge advocate, Headquarters and Support Battalion, was selected for his work ethic and volunteerism, said Rob Colenso, the vice president of marketing and development for Army Times Publishing Company.
“We look for somebody who goes above and beyond the call in all aspects of their military life,” said Colenso, who is in charge of the awards for Military Times. “Vogt really exemplifies everything we look for in Marine of the Year.”
Other service members recognized for their service were Army Staff Sgt. Zachary Filip, Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Kylee Bolibrzuch, Air Force Master Sgt. Rodney Deese and Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Richard Angelet.
Vogt, a 25-year-old serving at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., was unaware he was even nominated until the Military Times contacted him.
“I was completely surprised just to find out I was a finalist,” he said. “There are great Marines across the Corps, and I was certain that great Marines had been nominated and the competition would be very tight.”
Vogt found out later a corporal from his office and Master Sgt. Joelle Fant, his supervisor, had nominated him separately for the award.
Being recognized by Marines junior and senior to him made the honor even more gratifying, he said.
“The Marine Corps expects our staff noncommissioned officers to lead Marines,” said Maj. Gen. Darrell Moore, director, Reserve Affairs Division, Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. “Staff Sgt. Vogt leads the old fashioned way – by example.”
Capt. Will Schmitt, Vogt’s officer-in-charge, said the staff sergeant made him appreciate advice he had received in officer training about relying on staff noncommissioned officers.
“Anything you need (accomplished, Vogt) is already three steps ahead,” Schmitt said.
The committee also recognized Vogt’s extensive volunteer work, Colenso said. Last year, he logged 500 hours with various organizations.
“When we invest ourselves in the community around us, (we don’t) just improve the community but (we) improve ourselves,” Vogt said. “It makes our country stronger, and it makes our Corps stronger.”
Vogt started volunteering at his church when he was in middle school and continued to donate his time until he left for boot camp. After joining the Marine Corps, Vogt helped organize the Noncommissioned Officer Association for his unit, and continued his volunteer work with several organizations on and off base. The work load is high, but Vogt said he is just doing what he expects out of himself.
“All I do is go to work, lead Marines, take care of Marines and do my job,” he said. “Volunteering and mentoring, that’s what I believe a leader of Marines is supposed to do.”
Vogt’s current efforts involve helping young adults prepare for college, but he plans on cutting back his volunteer hours to spend more time with his wife, Alicia, and his seven-week old son, Joseph.
“With my first son, I couldn’t be a prouder dad,” he said. “By toning back the hours, it gives me an opportunity to teach (my) values to my son.”
Vogt will be deploying to Afghanistan later this year. This will be his first combat deployment.
“I’m looking forward to finally get that opportunity,” Vogt said. “We join the Marine Corps to join the fight and protect the freedoms that we all enjoy.”