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Band member tops all competition

By Colie Young | | December 10, 2009

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Highly motivated … truly dedicated … rompin,’ stompin,’ United States Marine!

Each year, the most impressive Marines throughout the Corps are nominated and compete for the title ‘Marine of the Year.’

For the year 2009, Cpl. Jessica Hall, euphonium instrumentalist, Albany Marine Band, here, blew away her competition throughout the Marine Corps Logistics Command.

To win the Marine of the Year honor, an individual must signify those traits of leadership, morality and professionalism, according to LOGCOM Order 1650.2.

Before competing at the Marine of the Year level though, Hall had to first win the Marine of the Quarter Board here at Headquarters Company East. Once she did that, she was flown out to Barstow, Calif., where she and a fellow bandsman competed against other hard-charging Marines throughout all of LOGCOM which included Albany, Ga.; Barstow, Calif. and the Blount Island Command in Jacksonville, Fla.

According to the Manchester, N.H., native, although competition came from squared away Marines throughout the entire Logistics Command, she felt her stiffest competition came from her fellow bandsman right here in Albany.

“I thought Corporal Benito Hijar gave me my stiffest competition. After the final board was complete, we discussed our performances with each other. We reasoned that we pretty much got the same number of questions answered correctly, but we both thought the other person had done a little better,” Hall admitted.

Criteria for being nominated to the board consisted of being Marine of the Quarter, having no courts-martial or office hours offenses within 12 months of the convening of the date of the board, having current passing scores in the physical fitness test, having most recent proficiency and conduct marks of 4.4 or higher, being qualified with the rifle and being Marine Corps Martial Arts Program qualified.

While Hall currently holds the rank of corporal, which is the rank of a non-commissioned officer, she competed and won the Marine of the Year board while she was still a lance corporal – one rank lower than a non-commissioned officer. She said she entered the Marine Corps in March of 2008 and has managed to pick up rank quickly over the past year and a half.

Sporting a crisp uniform, a short hair cut and small wire glasses, the articulate instrumentalist smiled as she shared what being a musician in the Marine Corps means to her.

“I’m using my music to educate the public about what the Marine Corps is all about. Being with the Albany Marine Band, all of our concerts are based around a musical theme of being a Marine; and all of our pieces center around the Marine Corps in some way,” Hall pointed out.

Hall said that one of the biggest thrills of being a band member is the recruiting effort the band is involved in.

“What I love most about being in the band is being a part of the overall Marine Corps recruiting effort. I just enjoy going out there looking good, sounding good, feeling good and sharing my music,” the 25-year-old Marine said.

Hall was nominated for the board by Chief Warrant Officer 2 Christian Flores, band officer.

Her staff noncommissioned officer in charge, Gunnery Sgt. Kenneth Douglas, explained why Hall was chosen to represent the band at the board.

“Corporal Hall is a perfect example of a United States Marine,” Douglas said. “She continually performs at a level well above her rank, is intelligent, makes educated decisions and is an excellent musician.

“I find that Corporal Hall represents the band, Marine Corps Logistics Command and the United States Marine Corps in an exemplary manner. She is a great example for Marines of all ranks to follow and she truly loves what she does and it shows.”

The Marine of the Year program is established to recognize a Marine’s noteworthy or commendatory performance of duty beyond the usual expectations.

Devil dogs honored with the Marine of the Year distinction are presented with a Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, a special 96-hour pass from the commanding general and a photo which is placed on display in the LOGCOM headquarters lobby.

But even with all of the accolades, and having a job that she loves dearly – being a musician – Hall said she probably enjoys being a Marine far more than being a musician


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