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2015 MARFORRES Sailors of the Year announced

By Cpl. Tiffany Edwards | Marine Corps Forces Reserves | March 4, 2016

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NEW ORLEANS – Marine Forces Reserve announced the recipients of the 2015 MARFORRES Sailor of the Year award for the active and Reserve components.

Petty Officer 1st Class (Fleet Marine Force) Argenis Mendoza, a hospital corpsman with Surgical Company B, 4th Medical Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group, Marine Forces Reserve, and HM1(FMF) Manuel Reyes of Headquarters Squadron, Marine Aircraft Group 49, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, MARFORRES, were selected as MARFORRES’ top Sailors in the Reserve and active components, respectively.

Every year, Navy commands across the globe select a Sailor whom they feel best embodies and exceeds the Navy’s standards of leadership and technical proficiency. Sailors nominated by their major subordinate commands compete in a board selection process that includes an interview.

“We look for the best of the qualified Sailors, sustained superior performance, mission accomplishment,” said MARFORRES Command Master Chief Petty Officer Christopher Kotz. “The Sailors we select for Sailor of the Year embody the attributes we want all our Sailors to emulate.”

Mendoza, the Reserve component winner, has served as the leading petty officer for his unit, providing day-to-day capabilities despite officially drilling only once a month. Reyes, the active component winner, has been successfully filling a higher-ranking billet, exceeding the expectations set by his unit commander and his major subordinate command senior enlisted leader, ensuring his Sailors maintained readiness standards while maximizing their unit’s mission accomplishment.

“I feel very honored to be given this award, and to represent MARFORRES as the active-duty Sailor of the Year, even though it is a humbling experience,” Reyes said.

Reyes and Mendoza were selected as award recipients after being nominated by their major subordinate commands.

“It’s a great feeling to be recognized,” Mendoza said. “You don’t realize how important it is to be recognized until it happens.”

Mendoza, a native of Herndon, Virginia, enlisted in the Navy July 11, 2001, and served on active duty from 2001 to 2006. Mendoza joined the Naval Reserve component in 2006.

“I really just wanted to serve my country,” Mendoza said. “I chose to become a corpsman because I heard that the medical field had great applications in the civilian sector as well.”

During his stint as an active-duty Sailor, Mendoza was stationed at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and deployed to the Horn of Africa in 2005. After he joined the Reserve, he deployed to Fallujah, Al Anbar Province, Iraq, from August 2007 to March 2008. Now, as a civilian, Mendoza works as an operating room business manager at a major hospital in northern Virginia.

“Working in the medical field, especially as a corpsman, is very challenging and fulfilling work,” Mendoza said. “In the military, I learned about the importance of integrity and quality in your work. You either do the right thing, or don’t do it at all.”

For Reyes, an active-duty medical group chief and native of Payette, Idaho, enlisting was a chance at a better life and career. He enlisted in the Navy Aug. 4, 2004, and has been stationed in Pennsylvania, California, and Washington, and was deployed to Afghanistan in April 2010. Reyes is now stationed at Joint Base McGuire/Dix Lakehurst, New Jersey.

“I love the medical field, and I worked as a certified nurse’s assistant prior to enlisting,” Reyes said “Being a corpsman furthered my ability to help people, and to make an impact on people’s lives.”

Reyes said the biggest benefit from his service in the Navy is learning to function as an independent operator, due to his experience being stationed at a Marine Corps Reserve unit, in addition to his deployment as an individual augmentee to Afghanistan.

According to Kotz, rewarding exceptional Sailors gives their peers a chance to learn from their accomplishments.

“These Sailors display sound leadership skills, good judgement and excellent uniform appearance; they are qualified in Fleet Marine Force warfare, and who take the time to mentor their junior Sailors both inside and outside of the work day,” Kotz said. “I would say the biggest attributes that Mendoza and Reyes embody is that they are humble in these responsibilities. They don’t do this for their career; they do this for their Sailors.”

Mendoza and Reyes will be presented with their awards later this year. For more information about the Sailor of the Year award program, please reference Marine Forces Reserve Force Order 1700.4B.


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