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Brig. Gen. Michael G. Dana, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) commanding general, recites the oath with Staff Sgt. Derek A. Smoak, a tactical vehicle license examiner with 2nd MLG (Fwd.), during his promotion ceremony Feb. 1, 2012, aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. On the other side of the world, the 2nd MLG command helped his wife, Michelle L. Smoak, witness her husband’s promotion and award ceremony through a teleconference call.

Photo by courtesy photo

Technology brings family closer

8 Feb 2012 | Cpl. Bruno J. Bego

Families often miss important moments in their loved ones’ lives during deployments. Technology such as video chat makes it possible to be a part of those special moments, though unable to be there physically.

The 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward) command used this technology so Michelle L. Smoak could see her husband, Staff Sgt. Derek A. Smoak, a tactical vehicle license examiner with the 2nd MLG (Fwd.), get promoted to the rank of staff sergeant and receive an award during a ceremony Feb.1.

Michelle, who was in the conference room of the 2nd MLG headquarters aboard Camp Lejeune, N.C., was able to witness the ceremony, which took place aboard Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.

“I was very proud to see him get those staff sergeant chevrons,” Michelle explained. “He has come a long way in his life, and this is just another great accomplishment for him.”

Smoak, who was recently redeployed from Helmand province after nearly a year, also received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his efforts in support of International Security Assistance Force operations.

“He is a superb Marine, and the words of his peers and the general were very heartfelt,” Michelle added. “I appreciate everyone who was involved in putting this together, and taking time out of their day to celebrate a wonderful and exciting day for us.”

According to Col. Mark R. Hollahan, the 2nd MLG commanding officer, any opportunity for families to participate in such personal events can be an invaluable experience and well worth the while.

“Staff Sergeant Smoak has been deployed for nearly a year,” Hollahan said. “We simply asked if they could broadcast the event and the rest is history .... This was a big win on a target of opportunity.

“We are exploring other means to get this capability used more often, for any deployed Marine or sailor,” Hollahan added.

Michelle said she couldn’t be happier she was to be able to see him for such memorable day. “This was a great way to end a long deployment,” she said.


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