ALBANY, GA (WALB) - 17 civilian marines are honored for their support of the Global war on Terrorism. They were each given the Secretary of Defense Medal for their work repairing humvees and other equipment damaged in war zones.
It was an honor they didn't see coming. "I am really flattered. I wasn't expecting this," said Joe Kuss.
One they say was unnecessary. "I volunteered to do my part and worked to do all I can," said Alonzo Jones.
As they stood proudly in two rows, Commanding General Major Willie Williams pinned each of the 17 civilian marines and expressed his gratitude.
"It's a different experience seeing all the stuff that goes on, but they had us in a pretty safe environment," said Jones.
They spent months away from their wives and children. "She was a little upset, but she understood, said Kuss.
They worked hard to protect our troops. "Long hours, 12 hour days, 6 days a week, but it was worth it," said Jones.
"You learn to appreciate everything when you come back," said Kuss.
Hard work now manifested in this medal. The blue ribbon represents the Department of Defense. The gold represents excellence.
"Black and red represent the threat, the real threat that we face everyday," said Maintenance Center Commander, Col. Daniel Gillan.
The threat they got to see first hand. "It really hits you hard when you hear of someone over there getting hurt or killed because than you know their family will never have that person back," said Kuss.
And is why their work overseas was so important. "Everything that we did over there, it was worth it," said Kuss.
"It was a pretty uplifting experience to actually see something you worked on being used and stand the test. I feel proud about it," said Jones.
The men honored also received a certificate that describes the meaning and significance of this medal.
The Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism was created last year to recognize and honor the contributions of the civilian workforce in the fight against terrorism.
The men honored are:
Virgil Brandon Wiley Braswell James Cox Carlos Cruz Billy Dorsey Robert Espinoza Scott Fields Cecil Franklin Alonzo Jones Delwouan Knighton Joseph Kuss James Long Sandy McGuire John Mims David Tucker Jonathan Watts Bruce Lesieur