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U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Thomas J. Mannino
Marine Seeks Challenge in Corps
By Pfc. Rebekka S. Kramp,
Marine Corps Air Station New River
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION NEW RIVER, N.C., Sept. 21, 2006 — Marines all over the world brave the tumultuous waters leading to the other side of the Corps: officer candidacy.

With the drive to strive for bigger and better things, 1st Lt. Thomas J. Mannino said he felt the need to experience the challenges of both the enlisted and officer sides of the Corps.

From an aircraft maintenance administration specialist to a material maintenance control officer for Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464, Mannino’s decision in 2002 changed the course of his entire career.

As a staff sergeant in the Marine Corps, Mannino said he became tired of the monotony.

“The challenge was gone, I knew my job inside out, I was even an instructor for my job,” he said.

Mannino decided to become an officer and face the new challenges head on.

He said the hardest part of becoming an officer was actually making the decision to face the unknown and begin the Enlisted Commissioning Program.

In October 2002, Mannino went to Officer Candidacy School.

He said that while OCS was a physical training academy, that was not the hardest aspect of the school.

“The hardest part of OCS was not being in control of yourself - you’re back to being in boot camp,” he said.

Now, with 12 years of enlisted experience and four years as an officer, Mannino has definitely earned the respect of his commanding officer, Lt. Col. Mike Young.

“He has an outstanding work ethic,” Young said. “He works the longest hours of any officer in my command.”
1st Lt. Thomas J. Mannino, Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 464 material maintenance officer, walks along the flightline towards the squadron's hangar at Marine Corps Air Station New River, N.C. Mannino spent 12 years as an enlisted Marine before becoming an officer. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Pfc. Rebekka S. Kramp
Along with the commanding officer’s approval, Mannino has the support of his enlisted counterparts.

“Lt. Mannino makes things happen, he finds parts no one else can,” said Staff Sgt. George F. Cook.

Cook also said Mannino not only does his job well, he also relates well with his Marines.

“He’s good-natured, he commends younger Marines when they do something right,” Cook added.

Mannino said he may be respected by his Marines, but he also shows them that same respect.

“I’m a proficient officer because of my Marines and the advice they give me,” said Mannino.

He said the key to his success is the two-way communication he keeps with the people around him.

He makes light of stressful situations to force everyone to step back and look at it for what it is - a temporary problem that will be solved, he said.
Last Updated:
09/21/2006, Eastern Daylight Time
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