BLOUNT ISLAND COMMAND JACKSONVILLE, Fl -- A civil service employee assigned to BICmd received an award for his exceptional meritorious service from Norway's Norwegian Chief of Defense here, Aug. 19.
Col. Carl D. Matter, commanding officer, BICmd pinned the Norwegian Defense Medal with Laurel Branch on Richard A. Montgomery, Logistics Management Specialist, and retired Marine Captain, following a luncheon attended by numerous members of BICmd.
"I strongly feel that Mr. Montgomery should have an award ceremony befitting this high-ranking award, and that the ceremony be something he will always remember," stated Maj. Gen. Kjell Narve Ludvigsen, commanding general, Regional Headquarters South Norway, in a letter accompanying the award.
The award presentation coincided with the celebration for Montgomery's retirement from 20 years of civil service.
Montgomery, a native of Augusta, Ga., received the award for his service while assigned as head of the Norway Prepositioning Management Office here, from September 1994 through February 2003. Montgomery took over leadership of the Norway Air-Landed Marine Expeditionary Brigade program at a time when it fell under the Maritime Prepositioning Program. In 1996, the NALMEB program became a separate entity within BICmd with Montgomery at the helm. According to the citation, Montgomery's outstanding service and dedication to duty has proven to be exceptionally important for both the United States and Norway. His contributions were instrumental in transforming the NALMEB program from a static prepositioned program to the dynamic forward deployed program that it is today. Montgomery managed to increase the operations and effectiveness of the program by validating the use of NALMEB assets for exercises and operations throughout Europe. Through Montgomery's initiative, the NALMEB program today is no longer relegated only to the defense of Norway, but considered an operational and strategic asset for the Marine Corps. His outstanding contributions have in turn, directly and positively influenced the close coordination and cooperation between not only the Marine Corps and the Norwegian Defense, but also at the U.S. State Department and Norwegian Department of State level.
"My biggest accomplishment, was changing the concept for utilizing the assets in the NALMEB program," Montgomery said, "Once we changed the policy allowing us to use the assets outside of the country (Norway), operational tempo increased, increasing visibility, and legitimizing the strategic value of the program."
Montgomery has spent over 40 years serving his country beginning in 1961 on the infamous yellow footprints at Parris Island. After graduating recruit training in Oct. 1961, he began his Marine Corps career as an artillery mechanic. In 1965, then Cpl. Montgomery deployed to Vietnam, earning a promotion to sergeant, and after a year in Vietnam, he reported back to Parris Island for duty as a drill instructor. With meritorious promotion to staff sergeant, Montgomery was ordered back to Vietnam for a second tour. Returning from Vietnam in 1969, he was assigned to recruiting duty, as an Officer Selection Office Assistant. He was promoted to the rank of gunnery sergeant and in 1975. Montgomery then accepted an appointment to warrant officer, continuing his progression through the ranks. In 1984, Capt. Montgomery retired after 22 years of service.
Montgomery didn't stray far from service to his country. He accepted a civil service position in 1984 as a Contracting Officers Technical Representative for the Marine Corps' Maritime Prepositioning Program at BICmd.
During his tenure at BICmd, he served with all three Maritime Prepositioning Squadrons and participated in Battle Griffin '93.
According to Montgomery, receiving the award is a great honor. He will always cherish the great people of Norway and their friendship. Most rewarding though are the people he has worked with at Blount Island.