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“Protect What You’ve Earned” essay writers recognized

By Lance Cpl. Caitlin Bevel | I Marine Expeditionary Force | October 14, 2016

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Three Marines with I Marine Expeditionary Force Headquarters Group were presented awards by the Marine Corps Association and Foundation at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, Oct. 14, 2016.
The awards were part of the I MEF Headquarters Group’s “Protect What You’ve Earned” campaign essay contest held April to June 2016. More than 40 essays were submitted.
 “The purpose of the essay contest was threefold: First, to promote individual reflection in each individual Marine. Second, we wanted to provoke discussion so as the Marines reflected on what was important to them they would share it with their fellow Marines,” said Col. Roberta L. Shea, the commanding officer of I MEF Headquarters Group.  “Lastly, to help integrate the thoughts of ‘Protect What You’ve Earned’ in our day-to-day conversations. No matter where you are, that phrase, and what it means to you, stays with you.”
Marines and sailors with II MEF came together during the winter of 2015 and discussed alcohol and destructive behavior within the service. The result was a campaign designed to decrease all negative impacts on Marines, their families and the community.
The contest was narrowed down to three finalists. First place winner Cpl. Jackie Madhava, with 1st Law Enforcement Battalion, shared why the essay spoke to her: “This essay for me was going back and remembering all the things that I have, that sometimes I do take for granted, that I have earned and how I'm going to protect and cherish them.”
Shea said the campaign is a big part of mission readiness, ensuring that we are able to deploy worldwide, supporting any MAGTF commander or in support of the MEF commander when deploying as a MEF.
Readiness at any level, any unit, is affected by how well Marines are conducting themselves. The command at I MHG continues to integrate the mission of the campaign at every level ensuring readiness throughout the Marine Corps. With more Marines making right decisions there are more Marines working hard and ready to deploy.
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