Photo Information

U.S. Marine Corps Cpl. Ryoka Orikasa, an electro-optical ordnance repair technician with 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, 2d Marine Division and a Norman, Oklahoma native, poses for a photo on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, Feb. 9, 2024. Orikasa was recognized as the II Marine Expeditionary Force Marine of the Year for her outstanding performance and was awarded a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal for her efforts. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Daysia McCree)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Daysia McCree

II MEF Marine of the Year

13 Oct 2023 | Story by Lance Cpl. Noelia Vazquez 2nd Marine Division

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. - Every year, U.S. Marines and Sailors of the II Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) are nominated to compete for the title “Marine of the Year.” Earning this prestigious title demonstrates traits of leadership, moral fortitude and professionalism, distinguishing the Marine from their peers. On February 7, 2024, Cpl. Ryoka Orikasa represented 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) Battalion, 2d Marine Division by being recognized as the II MEF Marine of the Year on Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Orikasa, a Norman, Oklahoma native, enlisted in the Marine Corps in 2022 as an electro-optical ordnance repair technician. As an electro-optical ordnance repair technician, her daily duties include maintenance and repair to ground ordnance laser and night vision devices, small missile systems, and other fire control equipment.

“Making sure my junior Marines are being properly trained and proficient allows them to effectively run their own armory cages. Their success is my priority to ensure we meet mission deadlines,” explained Orikasa.

The Marine of the Year distinction recognizes Marines, like Orikasa, who have contributed significantly to the mission effectiveness of their unit. In addition to superior job performance, she was also evaluated on the basis of her efforts toward self-improvement, leadership qualities and potential. She is also in charge of managing and supervising four junior Marines.

“Cpl. Orikasa is the personification of leading by example. She is a young noncommissioned officer (NCO) who seeks guidance from her senior NCOs on how she can improve, and that's what the Corps needs more of: NCOs that are hungry to lead and inspire,” explained Sgt. Nathaniel B. Smith, a maintenance chief and Orikasa’s supervisor at 2d LAR Battalion.

Surrounded by her company command, colleagues and peers, Orikasa proudly marched to II MEF commanders to receive a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement medal, an eagle trophy and a KA-BAR during the award ceremony.

“Orikasa is a hard charging corporal and represents the 34,000 Sailors and Marines in II MEF. With only two years in the Marine Corps, she is already making a profound impact on 2d LAR Battalion”, said Lt. Gen. David A. Ottignon, the commanding general of II MEF.

Cpl. Ryoka Orikasa, the II MEF Marine of the Year, reflected great credit on her character, work ethic and devotion to duty while serving with 2d LAR. She is the embodiment of future leaders, upholding and surpassing the standards of what it takes to be a leader of Marines, and what the organization expects their Marines to uphold in terms of standards and mentality.