CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
“It’s a direct reflection of every Marine at 2nd Air Delivery.”
During a break in his year-long tour to Afghanistan, Kansas City, Mo., native Sgt. Jonathan Hill proudly walked across a stage aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va., Sept. 28, to claim the Marine Corps League’s Sergeant Harry D. Myers Award. T
he moment was his, but Hill, the air delivery chief with Landing Support Company, 2nd Marine Logistics Group (Forward), noted during an interview back in his parachute loft aboard Camp Leatherneck Nov. 7, that it was a total team effort that got him there.
The award is bestowed annually upon an enlisted Marine within a combat service support element of the operational forces whose contributions have significantly impacted operations and readiness within the unit assigned.
For the 2nd MLG (FWD), Hill was their man.
After arriving in country last February, Hill took it upon himself to take an already solid support program - thanks to the efforts of his predecessors with 1st Air Delivery, based aboard MCB Camp Pendleton, Calif. - and increase its efficiency and tempo even further. The first changes were implemented after he made several visits to others in the parachute rigger community.
“I looked into what the Army was doing here and also went to Kandahar, Bagram and Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar,” explained Hill.
Changes he introduced within his own unit included the transition from stationary to assembly line-style rigging and modifications to the preparation phase of upcoming drops. In doing so, his team has doubled the amount of drops completed when compared to previous months.
“My predecessor with 1st Air Delivery had a lot of the same things in mind before they left, but just didn’t have the time to push through them,” he said. “We had the time to turn their intent into action.”
Hill noted that his team has greatly increased the survival rate of their drops due to changes in the packing process. They have also cut the loading and assembly time of a Container Delivery System bundle from 20 minutes to a mere 10.
In perhaps one of their grandest accomplishments to date, they have dropped nearly 3 million pounds of food, water and ammunition to frontline troops. This includes direct support to reconnaissance Marines as well as elements of the 2nd Marine Division and Georgia’s 33rd Light Infantry Battalion as they conduct combat and security operations in Helmand province.
Just a few months remain in his deployment, but the work ethic that prompted Hill’s superiors to recommend him for the Myer’s Award it still evident. Three million is an ambitious number in any context, but for the Marines of 2nd Air Delivery, the sky is the limit. They would still like to clear three and a half million pounds of drops before redeploying, said Hill.
“It was an honor to represent the MLG in Quantico,” said Hill, who also made note of the fact that he was the only Marine present at the awards presentation who actually flew in from Afghanistan.
“…But I enjoy my job and was just doing what any Marine would do. We do our best at all times.”