Story Number: NNS140227-23Release Date: 2/27/2014 8:43:00 PM
By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Apprentice Rose Forest, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Hawaii
HONOLULU (NNS) -- More than 62 Hawaii-based Sailors and Marines and their families were recognized for their service as individual augmentees (IAs) during the sixth annual "Boots on the Ground" IA recognition luncheon held Feb. 21 at the Ala Moana Hotel.
Hosted by the Honolulu Council Navy League and presented by Partners in Patriotism, the luncheon recognized service members who deployed away from their command to regions in need of a unique skill that they possessed.
"This is an opportunity to call out individuals and recognize what they have done," said Rear Adm. Robert P. Girrier, deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet. "The name says it all; it was 'individuals' who came forward to 'augment' critical shortfalls in certain mission areas."
"It's the nature of our force," said Girrier. "This volunteer force that we have created over the decades has some incredible talent at the individual level. This is what you get when you have a professional force."
Since 2002, more than 114,000 active and Reserve Sailors and Marines have served on IA deployments. They leave their normal military duties to fill critical jobs in locations around the world.
"It was a huge learning experience for me," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Tara Myles. "That's why I volunteered. I wanted to learn and see a different aspect of my rate."
More than 1,400 IA Sailors have been awarded the Bronze Star, and nearly 20,000 have been awarded meritorious service awards of various types.
The Navy League is a civilian non-profit organization that hosted the luncheon to give the Marines and Sailors who served as individual augmentees recognition for their services.
For more news from Commander, Navy Region Hawaii, visit www.navy.mil/local/cnrh/.