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Sailors Receive Joint Service Achievement Medal for COVID-19 Efforts

Sept. 28, 2020 | BY MARINE CORPS LANCE CPL. SASHA PIERRE-LOUIS

Sailors with the Force Surgeon's Office, G-10 Division, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, received the Joint Service Achievement Medal for their COVID-19 Mitigation Efforts in a ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, Sept. 3, 2020.

Four sailors received the award for their sustained acts of meritorious service within a joint duty capacity: Navy Lt. Robert G. Miller, medical planner; Navy Lt. Cmdr. Noah Apusen, medical planner; Navy Lt. Joseph Cantwell, medical planner; and Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Michael J. Strong, administration chief.

Sailors pose for a photo at an award ceremony.
Group Photo
Recipients of the Joint Service Achievement Medal pose for a photo after their award ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, Sept. 3, 2020. Four sailors received the award for their sustained acts of meritorious service in response to the COVID-19 pandemic within a joint duty capacity.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Sasha Pierre-Louis
VIRIN: 200903-M-BJ564-1053M

"Due to restrictions from the novel coronavirus disease [COVID-19], personnel in the section went from eleven to six," Ms. Elizabeth Colina, deputy force surgeon with MARFORPAC, said. "The team still provided extensive support like any frontline."

Despite restrictions, the awardees continued their daily duties, in addition to requesting a Panther Fusion COVID-19 testing machine and providing personal protective equipment requirements input to the G-4, supply and logistics.

"As a whole, we all agree on this," Strong said. "It was a great experience to witness all of the medical planners come together as a group and work through problem sets outside of our comfort zone. We got comfortable being uncomfortable."

Indo-Pacific Command and MARFORPAC aim to continue recognizing the accomplishments of deserving sailors, according to Colina.

At the ceremony's conclusion, Navy Master Chief Petty Officer Frank Dominguez, the command master chief for MARFORPAC, praised the staff's actions.

Sailors at an award ceremony.
Award Ceremony
Navy Capt. Jeffrey W. Bitterman, right, the force surgeon with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, applauds Navy Lt. Cmdr. Noah Apusen, a medical planner with MARFORPAC during a Joint Service Achievement Medal award ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii, Sept. 3, 2020. The ceremony recognized the accomplishments and meritorious service of four sailors for their response to the COVID-19 pandemic, during which they provided command updates on personal protective equipment requirements, mitigation measures and acquisitioned a COVID-19 testing machine.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Sasha Pierre-Louis
VIRIN: 200903-M-BJ564-1023M

According to Dominguez, the work done by Miller, Apusen, Cantwell and Strong ensured a highly efficient and effective response to the COVID-19 global health emergency, and their efforts positively impacted the lives of service members within the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command and MARFORPAC areas of responsibility.

"The award recipients kept the commander up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 statistics and requested a [COVID-19 testing machine]," Dominguez said. "They worked collaboratively and tirelessly with INDOPACOM Health Services."

(Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Sasha Pierre-Louis is assigned to U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific).