CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit’s command element receive the Good Conduct Medal here Nov. 2 and Nov. 5 for continuous military proficiency, obedience and intelligence for an extended period of time.
Like many things in the Marine Corps, the Good Conduct Medal is earned not given. Marines who receive this award have three things in common; fidelity, obedience, and zeal. These characteristics are the basis of criteria for every Marine that has received the award and are engraved into the medal itself.
Cpl. Brandon Rivero, an administrative clerk with the 11th MEU, appreciates the recognition.
“Finally after three years, I’m being recognized for my hard work,” said Rivero, the 22-year-old, Miami native. “This award shows the consistency that I have shown of being a good Marine.”
The Good Conduct Medal was established in the Marine Corps on July 20, 1896. It is one of the oldest medals that can be given in this generation. It was designed by Maj. Gen. Charles Heywood, the ninth commandant of the Marine Corps, and the appearance of the actual medal itself has not changed since the day it was designed.
After his second time receiving the award, Sgt David Hernandez, the chemical biological radiological nuclear defense noncommissioned officer with the 11th MEU, wants to set the example for other Marines.
“The first time I received the medal I didn’t know the relevance of having this type of award,” said Hernandez, a 24-year-old, Fullerton, Calif., native. “I realize now that this is a gesture from the Marine Corps to show appreciation to service members setting that example for those coming up. Since this is my second time getting this, I can use it to show junior Marines how to do it.”
To receive the Good Conduct Medal, a Marine must serve at least 3 years of continuous active service while maintaining the Marine Corps standard for proper conduct.
Cpl. Mitchell Zgorzynski, a 21-year-old, Aurora, Co., native, received the Good Conduct Medal for the first time and understands what this achievement means.
“Not a lot of Marines can go three years without an incident,” said Zgorzynski, an infantryman and training noncommissioned officer with the 11th MEU. “It’s an honor and I’m extremely proud that I made it this far.”