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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Louise Nowak First Woman to Graduate With Highest Honors

A former Pound resident, Candidate Louise M. Nowak, 25, was selected as Honor Graduate of the Platoon Leaders Class Second Increment Seniors at Marine Corps Officer Candidates School in Quantico, VA. on Aug. 17. Nowak was chosen first above her 400 male peers to receive the Commandant’s Trophy as recognition of her superior academic performance, physical ability and exceptional leadership skills. She was the first woman to achieve the number one position. The Commandant’s Trophy is a traveling trophy and goes to award winner each year.

Nowak began her Marine Corps career on the enlisted side as a Combat Engineer, and attended boot camp at Parris Island, S.C. in 2006. After serving four years and receiving an honorable discharge from the Marine Corps, Nowak decided to continue her education at Carroll University in Waukesha.

As a Marine Corps Officer, Nowak will reaffirm her commitment to Corps and Country, entering into a proud, lifelong brotherhood composed of the select few men and women who have earned their place in the Corps’ officer ranks. Nowak will receive her commission as a Second Lieutenant upon graduation from Carroll University at Waukesha next spring. She is working for her bachelor degree in exercise science. She is a senior.

A 2006 graduate of Coleman High School, she was one of 12 children of Thomas and JoAnne Nowak. She enlisted in the Marines in June after graduating from Coleman High School in May 2006.

Nowak received her framed certificate, MCA wristwatch and the book Reminiscences of a Marine during the Officers Candidates School (OCS) graduation at Marine Corps Base Quantico Aug. 16. The Marine Corps Association and Foundation presented five awards to candidates and nine awards to staff members.

It was tough competition for the candidates, Nowak said, because many were prior service or ROTC candidates. Nowak was enlisted from 2006 to 2010 as a combat engineer and completed two deployments to Afghanistan and one to Iraq.

I knew going into OCS that there was much to learn regardless of my prior service, Nowak said. And just as for anything, you get out what you put in. Being the Honor Graduate was not my goal, my goal was to give it my all and take away as much as possible. She hopes to get accepted in flight school and become a helicopter pilot.

The candidates that the Marine Corps Association and Foundation recognized were Louise M. Nowak for the Honor Grad Award for highest average score and Marine Corps Association Gung Ho Award for 1st Platoon, Golf Company. Livingston C. Lukow for the MCA Leadership Award; Daniel F. Sandoval for the Marine Corps Association Gung Ho Award for 1st Platoon Echo Company; and John H. Mensch, Jr. for the Marine Corps Association Gung Ho Award for 4th Platoon, India Company.

MCA&F also awarded OCS enlisted staff including Echo Company D.I. of the Cycle GySgt Nicholas M. Gogol; Golf Company D.I. of the Cycle SSgt Christopher A. Harrison; India Company D.I. of the Cycle SSgt Scott Hemenway; Echo Company Corpsman of the Cycle HM3 Jason Young; Golf Company Corpsman of the Cycle HM John Master; India Company Corpsman of the Cycle HM Kenny Columbus; Tactics Instructor Sgt Michael D. Hodges for Academic Instructor of the Cycle; Sgt. Paul B. Price for the Eagle Award; and Cpl Allan E. Young for Physical Training Instructor of the Cycle.

The OCS graduate awards are presented through the MCA&F Marine Excellence Awards program. Each year MCA&F gives nearly 11,000 awards to deserving Marines and provides about 97 percent of all awards distributed in the Corps outside the USMC awards system. The program offers tangible recognition of professional accomplishments and recognizes the honor graduates throughout the Marine Corps officer and enlisted formal schools.


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