The Marine Corps thrives because of skilled leaders who must be individuals both of action and of intellect according to Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1: Warfighting. The service makes a point to award those Marines who go above and beyond to embody the spirit of the organization.
Cpl. Corey Mount, an administrative noncommissioned officer with 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division, was recognized as the I Marine Expeditionary Force Marine of the Year during a ceremony at Camp Pendleton Feb. 10.
Mount’s leaders said he distinguished himself from the moment he checked into the battalion.
“A lot of junior Marines come into the fleet with a lot of motivation, but he had an extra level,” said Sgt. Aaron Bennington, the NCO who was placed in charge of Mount when he first arrived at the unit. “He didn’t just want to know his job, he wanted to know my job and the jobs of everyone around him.”
Mount, a native of Indianapolis, confirmed his command’s first impression by continuing to excel at every aspect of his role as a Marine, which included qualifying at an expert level on the rifle range and achieving maximum scores on his physical and combat fitness tests. However, it takes more than physical prowess to be the Marine of the Year.
“We started hearing him talk about what he was doing on the weekends which is what really caught me by surprise,” said Bennington, the Defense Travel System NCO with 1st Recon. Bn.
In addition to his regular duties, Mount received the Presidential Volunteer Service Award for volunteering at local schools and a tragedy assistance program for children who lost parents in combat. He made sure to take advantage of every opportunity presented to him.
“No matter how much he had on his plate, he was still out there volunteering, still staying in the gym, still asking if he could go to courses,” said Bennington, a native of Peebles, Ohio. He explained that Mount attended every course he could get into from CPR to jump school in an attempt to learn as much as possible.
Mount’s thirst for knowledge made him the embodiment of one of the 11 leadership principles the Marine Corps uses to guide young leaders: know yourself and seek self-improvement.
“There are a lot of things you can do in the Marine Corps that help make you better,” said Mount. “It just takes a little bit of effort.”
Lance Cpl. Luke Wible, an air delivery specialist with 1st Recon. Bn., said he learned a lot from Mount about taking initiative and working toward goals. He first met Mount when he was checking into the unit. The
corporal was the Single Marine Program representative for the unit and made an effort to get out of the office and interact and Marines throughout the battalion according to Wible.
Wible explained that shortly after joining the unit, he saw Mount earn a black belt in the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program as a lance corporal, which is uncommon at that rank. He also said this was just the beginning of the great example Mount set for him.
“After that, I heard he got Marine of the quarter, then he was meritoriously promoted to corporal, then he got a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and he got to go to jump school,” said Wible, a native of Glassboro, New Jersey.
Wimble also said observing Mount’s work ethic and accomplishments demonstrated that leadership involves a lot more than just rank.
“There are staff NCOs and officers who ask him questions specifically,” said Wible. “Whenever my shop needs something done with administration they call him first.”
Even with all he has accomplished, Mount’s leaders are he has a promising future in the Marine Corps and beyond.
“The thing about Cpl. Mount is that he’s never satisfied,” said Bennington. “The sky is the limit for him and he puts in the time, so I expect him to be picking up awards left and right like he did all through 2015.”
And with great accomplishments comes great reward. Mount said one of the most special things about the ceremony was the attendance of Sgt. Maj. Bradley Kasal, the I MEF command element sergeant major, whose legacy of heroism inspired Mount from afar.
“There are so many good Marines out there and I get to put on the same uniform,” said Mount. “It’s very humbling to know that I’m representing I MEF as Marine of the Year when I know there are a lot of great Marines out there.”
Extraordinary people who constantly seek ways to better themselves and those around them keep the Marine Corps at the forefront of skill, innovation, and effectiveness in the ever-changing global environment.
Story by Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel