Gunnery Sgt. Nathan Marple, center, receives the Marine Corps’ Acquisition Staff Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award from Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA) John Glenn squadron during a ceremony Feb. 28 in  Patuxent River, Md. (U.S. Navy photo)

Marple named Marine Corps acquisition staff non-commissioned officer of the year

Gunnery Sgt. Nathan Marple was recognized for his efforts to advance delivery and training for Marine Corps small unmanned aircraft systems (SUAS) earning him the title of Marine Corps’ Acquisition Staff Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.

The Marine Corps Aviation Association (MCAA) John Glenn squadron presented Marple the award during the annual banquet Feb. 28 at NAS Patuxent River.

The local MCAA squadron honored Marple, a native of Donahue, Iowa, for his outstanding work as Navy and Marine Corps Small Tactical Unmanned Aircraft Systems (PMA-263) military deputy assistant program manager for logistics, overseeing SUAS.

“It feels good to be recognized for work resulting from a great team,” Marple said. “I received a lot of input from the government personnel and Marines within PMA-263 and I feel that is what has made me successful in this role.”

According to the nomination, he employed his extensive UAS experience to enact proactive solutions to meet SUAS urgent needs, specifically supporting the Commandant of the Marine Corps' 864 ‘Quad for Squads’ initiative. Marple led the review and re-organization of Marine Corps facilities to better support SUAS training, which led to the successful establishment of Training and Logistics Support Activity (TALSA) Pacific in support of III Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) unmanned system sustainment and training.

“Gunnery Sgt. Marple has directly and positively impacted the warfighter with his exceptional leadership supporting Marine Corps UAS capabilities,” said Col. John Neville, PMA-263 program manager. “His keen focus on logistics and training support for the Small Tactical UAS has been a force multiplier to ensuring rapid system fielding, facilities stand-up, transitional planning, and training support across the Marine Corps, Navy, and Special Operations Command.”

The MCAA John Glenn Squadron present the awards annually to recognize Marines who have exemplified themselves through the most significant contribution to, or professional achievement in the field of Marine aviation acquisition during the preceding calendar year.

“This has been a positive learning opportunity for me; the acquisition process was not what I expected. I hope to take the knowledge I’ve gained to my next unit so others can understand the process of acquiring the newest unmanned systems and equipment,” Marple said.

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