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MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (April, 13, 2006)- Col. Gary Denning was awarded a Legion of Merit by 2nd Marine Division's commanding general, Maj. Gen. Richard A Huck during a ceremony here. Denning spent a year in Iraq as the division air officer, overseeing assault air operations and casualty medical evacuations. (Official U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos (RELEASED)

Photo by Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

Colonel awarded Legion of Merit

18 Apr 2006 | Cpl. Athanasios L. Genos

He stood in front of the American and Marine Corps colors; fellow Marines and friends watched as he was awarded a Legion of Merit.  He received this award April 13 from 2nd Marine Division’s commanding general, Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, during a ceremony here.

Col. Gary M. Denning, who served as the Division Air Officer in Ar Ramadi, Iraq, from February 2005 to February 2006, received his award for exceptional meritorious conduct while coordinating many different air support missions.

“He did a great job and worked his tail off, and I think everybody can attest to that,” explained Huck.

Denning was part of many successful air missions as he supervised and coordinated joint forces and Marine efforts, to include assault support, aerial reconnaissance, and offensive support.

All the work couldn’t have been done if it wasn’t for the help of all the Marines who performed their rolls in all of the operations, Denning said.

“It took all of us coordinating our efforts to drop the bombs on the targets that were given to us.”

Denning was also the officer-in-charge of the Division Effects Coordination Center.  While there, he synchronized all types of fire support to defeat their enemies and improvised explosive device attacks.  Harmonized efforts in Iraq and here was a key part of the overall success, according to Denning.

“While we were out there, we couldn’t have done all we did if it wasn’t for the people back here.”

Positive messages were sent to the Iraqis as Denning headed up the counter IED group.  The constant refinement to the tactics, techniques and procedures were also maintained as they fought an enemy who changed their ways of attacking on a regular basis.

All the efforts made by Denning and the Marines working beside him were evident in the changes constantly occurring.  Denning, now returned home from a year-long deployment, is making his way to a new command where he will take over the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing’s operations section and prepare them for a possible deployment to keep fighting the Global War on Terrorism.