FREDERICK, MD --
The U.S. Marine Corps Officer Candidate School is tough. Many might apply, but only the best and most prepared will go on to become officers and leaders of Marines.
This is why a newly commissioned Marine Corps officer was recognized for his efforts in helping prepare other officer applicants for the rigors of OCS at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, March 28.
2nd Lt. Ronald Lima, a native of Brentwood, New York, was presented with a Mameluke sword during the ceremony. The sword’s tradition dates back to 1805, when 1st Lt. Presley O'Bannon was presented with the blade by a Mameluke chieftain in North Africa following the Battle of Derna. Only Marine Corps officers carry the sword.
Retired U.S. Marine Capt. John French, a former officer selection officer, presented the sword to Lima. French was the OSO for Hyattsville, Maryland, from 1994-1996 and looks to give back to Marines when the opportunity arises.
“When I was commissioned in 1990, a family presented me with a sword in honor of their son who had been tragically killed in a training accident, and what I’ve looked to do over the past several years is pay that back,” said French. “Today, I had the opportunity to present a Mameluke sword to Lima in congratulations of his excellent accomplishments and just being commissioned as a Marine second lieutenant.”
This is the first sword presentation for Officer Selection Office Fairfax, but French has donated swords to other offices in the Northeast. French said he hopes to donate at least one sword per year.
Lima’s hard work and dedication led him to be named Officer Applicant of the Year at OSO Fairfax.
“He represents everything that we want, not only as an applicant or a candidate, but as a leader of Marines and second lieutenant,” said Capt. Ian C. Merry, Officer Selection Officer for Fairfax, and native of Salem, Massachusetts. “It’s very clear to see that he selflessly served our office over the past year.”
Though he just graduated OCS days ago, he is not new to the Marine Corps. Lima was an enlisted F/A-18 fixed-wing aircraft airframes mechanic who ended his active service contract in March 2012 as a sergeant.
Since then, he has dedicated countless hours of his free time preparing applicants for the challenges they will face at OCS. He led physical training on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, conducted OCS knowledge classes, and prepared them for dealing with sergeant instructors, drill, and overall military bearing. Lima’s actions make him a worthy leader to follow, according to Merry.
“I believe it is important to recognize superior performers, not only for their sake, but in order to highlight them as examples for others to follow,” said Merry.
Lima was conscious of the hard work he has been doing but did not expect to receive anything for doing what he loves to do which is pushing others to be better than him.
“I came here, today, thinking I was just going to run these guys around a little bit for physical training,” said Lima. “It feels good to be recognized and seeing other people improve.”