MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
Lance Cpl. Bryan Vasquez and Cpl. Nicholas Barcelona of 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion, 2nd Marine Division, recently took the title of Division Marine and NCO of the Quarter.
“I was extremely honored to be named the NCO of the Quarter,” said Barcelona, a 26-year-old native of Bossier City, La. “Garrison awards don’t come up a whole lot, so it’s been a nice change of pace.”
Vasquez, a 21-year-old from Orange County, Calif., said he was surprised to be nominated for the award and was honored to actually win.
“I’m very proud I was regarded as worthy enough to receive the award,” he exclaimed. “I always do my job to the best of my ability without talking back or complaining. I try to do whatever I can to help out.”
Barcelona shared the same feelings. He was cautiously optimistic in his chances of winning the board.
“I was surprised I won simply because I haven’t deployed yet,” Barcelona said. “I’ve done very well with the things put before me, but I’ve only been in the Marine Corps for about 20 months.”
While Barcelona and Vasquez were taken back by the outcome, their leaders and fellow Marines had confidence in them.
“I wasn’t surprised at all that (Barcelona) won the board,” said 1st Sgt. Steven Rice, a 35-year-old from Camby, Ore., and the first sergeant for Bravo Company. “As soon as the other companies saw he was on the board they didn’t even submit names.”
Vasquez recognized his battalion’s outstanding leadership as a key factor in his success. “(Having two Marines win from the same battalion) illustrates the tremendous work ethic that this battalion has, the type of Marines Recon produces and how we conduct ourselves professionally,” he said.
According to Rice, the battalion is going “pedal to the metal” and has no intentions of letting off the gas anytime soon. “We’re going 100 miles an hour down here,” he said. “This is the first place I’ve ever been in 18 years where every platoon is doing something different. We’re very task-organized and we count on our NCOs.”
The battalion takes great pride in its celebrated history and its role as one of the most elite fighting forces in the world. “My favorite part of being a Recon Marine is the discipline, standards and legacy that come along with it,” said Vasquez.