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Photo Information

Dennis Douthett, the II MEF training officer, is awarded the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, July 21, 2011, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. For almost a decade, Douthett has worked with the II MEF Communications Security Office, which works to protect our nation’s secrets from our adversaries.

Photo by Cpl. Johnny Merkley

Civilians receive third-highest award

21 Jul 2011 | Cpl. Johnny Merkley

It is common practice in the Marine Corps to award and recognize Marines who perform their duties with excellence beyond expectation. The Marine Corps also recognizes its federal civilian employees who perform their duties in the same manner.

Ronald Salyer, the II Marine Expeditionary Force operations officer and Dennis Douthett, the II MEF training officer, were awarded the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, July 21, 2011, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., an award earned by civilian employees in the Department of the Navy for meritorious service or contribution resulting in high value or benefits for the Navy or Marine Corps.

For almost a decade, these men have worked with the II MEF Communications Security Office, which works to protect our nation’s secrets from our adversaries.

“The Marine Corps, at one point, used a language the enemy could not understand. The Navajo Code Talkers of World War II were brought to light as heroes for this method,” said Salyer. “Today, with technology, the process of protecting our nation’s secrets is a bit more advanced and technical.”

Salyer retired from the Marine Corps after working in communications before becoming a civilian contractor where he plays a huge role in COMSEC—carrying out responsibilities such as the inspection program for II MEF, providing immediate superior in command responsibilities and validating the requirements and policies for use in more than 31,000 pieces of COMSEC equipment.

“In past wars, messages had to be converted and ciphered manually by an operator to a code, transmitted to the intended radio recipient, and manually deciphered back to the original message context,” said Salyer.

Douthett, also a retired Marine formerly in communications, has been working in this field non-stop, annually conducting eight information-security technician courses, four certificate authority workstation courses and four information-systems security officer courses and much more.

After the two men received their awards, each stepped forward to say words of appreciation and gratitude to the people who helped them accomplish what they have.

“I would not be here if it weren’t for my co-workers. We work as a team to get people through their deployments and through their careers,” said Douthett. “I would also like to thank my family for always being there when I needed you most.”