An award-winning Marine Corps company commander was so effective at bringing his men together, his Marines got matching unit tattoos.
According to the Marine Corps Times, Captain Thomas Morrow is this year’s recipient of the Corps’ prestigious Leftwich Trophy after providing outstanding leadership during a six-month deployment to the Asia-Pacific region last year.
Morrow led the Weapons Company of the 3rd Division’s 2nd Battalion through a deployment spanning across the Pacific- heading to locations such as Japan, the Philippines and South Korea.
Given the specialty-niches filed by Weapons Company, Captain Morrow often had to deal with his company being split up and scattered across the Pacific, often operating simultaneously in different exercises with different countries.
Despite the geographical displacement, Morrow’s Marines emerged from the exercises better than they had gone into them. In fact, they were such a tight-knit unit that they referred to themselves as “the family” and many got tattoos of the hastily-improvised company insignia.
“No matter how controversial tattoos may be in the Marine Corps, it is a testament to how strongly the Marines believed in the team we had formed,” Morrow told Marine Corps Times. “Personally, that felt great.”
Another source of pride for “the family” is the amount of historical events that took place while on exercises. In South Korea, Marines operated on ranges never seen by US troops and even completed Korean Ranger School, earning their ROK Ranger tabs.
When the Marine Corps awarded Morrow the Leftwich Award, he said that he couldn’t have done it alone.
“I didn’t expect any of this,” Morrow said of getting the Leftwich award. “I am still convinced it is a clerical error, and my name was supposed to be stricken from this. You could easily scratch my name and just leave “Weapons Company 2/3” on there, and they would still rate this trophy above anyone else in the Marine Corps because they showed themselves to be the pinnacle of effectiveness as a team- and I am proud to be a part of that team.”
Regimental commander Colonel Carl Cooper says that Morrow “delivers decisive results, regardless of the mission, and his leadership has proven to be the critical enabler to his company’s overall success.”
The Leftwich Trophy is an annual award presented to a Marine Combat Arms Captain that clearly and dramatically demonstrates the ideals of courage, resourcefulness, perseverance, and concern for the well-being of our Corps and his enlisted Marines.” It is named after Navy Cross and Silver Star recipients LTC William G. Leftwich Jr., who was killed in 1970 when his helicopter crashed overseeing an emergency extraction of a recon team in Vietnam.
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