Salutes & Awards

July 19, 2012

MCAS Yuma’s Marine and NCO of the Year

From left to right: Sgt. Maj. Karl Villaino, MCAS Yuma’s sergeant major, Sgt. Ernesto Rodriguez, Jr., a Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron criminal investigation division investigator and a native of Harlingen, Texas, Lance Cpl. Blake Walker, a Marine Wing Support Squadron 371 electrician and a native of Santa Monica, Calif., and Col. Robert Kuckuk, MCAS Yuma’s commanding officer, stand for a photo at the Armed Forces Memorial Park in Yuma, Ariz. Sgt. Rodriguez and Lance Cpl. Blake were recently recognized as MCAS Yuma’s noncomissioned officer of the year and Marine of the year, respectively.

Sgt. Rodriguez : NCO of the Year

Sergeant Rodriguez was born on 18 January 1988 in Harlingen, Texas where he was raised and completed his high school education at Harlingen High School in 2006.  Sergeant Rodriguez left for Boot Camp in June 2006 and graduated Boot Camp in September from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, California.  Following graduation from Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, California, Sergeant Rodriguez continued his training in Pensacola, Florida where he attended the Aviation Ordnanceman Course. In 2010 he initiated a lateral occupational move in the criminal investigation division, recovering $32,000 in stolen government and private property to kickstart his career. He’s been awarded multiple Letters of Appreciation for his volunteer service; selected as the Military Service Member of the Quarter by the Military Affairs Council of the Crystal Coast, North Carolina; won the Marine Corps Installations East Meritorious Sergeant Board, and was meritoriously promoted to the rank of Sergeant in February 2010. In April 2012, Sergeant Rodriguez successfully completed Black Belt 2nd Degree at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California, and just recently trained 20 Marines in MCMAP, totaling 100 Marines in his career.  Sergeant Rodriguez also currently coaches Youth Basketball for Marine Corps Community Services, MCAS Yuma, Arizona, and actively participates in volunteer opportunities with the local community.


Lance Cpl. Walker : Marine of the Year

Lance Corporal Walker was born on 12 December, 1991 in Santa Monica, California.  He lived in Pacific Beach, California for 12 years and then spent 3 years living in Gaeta, Italy before moving to Hampton, Virginia where he completed his high school education in June 2010.  Walker left for Boot Camp in July and graduated Boot Camp from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina in October 2010.  Following graduation from Marine Combat Training at Camp Geiger, North Carolina, Lance Corporal Walker continued his training at Twentynine Palms, Calif., where he attended the Tactical Switch Operator Course from November 2010 to March 2011.  Upon completion of his training, he received orders to Marine Wing Support Squadron 371.  In September 2011, Walker deployed with MWSS-371 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and was given many leadership opportunities in leading Marines through various projects including running 21,000 feet of fiber optics and successfully completing 550 hours worth of trouble calls.  Walker was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal in February 2012 for his work during his deployment to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan.


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