Pursuing Excellence In The Marine Corps
by U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Samantha Rodriguez
November 4, 2022
“Have a purpose, find it, and achieve it,” said Sgt. Brooke M. Thompson, who was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal.
Thompson, an avionics technician with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242, proved to be a vital asset to her unit by earning multiple training qualifications, volunteering for innumerable detachments while leading aircraft maintenance, contributing to the transition of F/A-18D Hornet aircraft to the latest 5th Generation stealth F-35B aircraft, promoting safety standards across MCAS Iwakuni by kick-starting the proper disposal of hazardous materials program for F-35B aircraft, and many other tasks responsible for VMFA-242’s successful operational capabilities.
October 20, 2022 - U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Brooke Thompson, an avionics technician with Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 242, poses for a photo in front of an F-35B Lightning II aircraft at Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS), Iwakuni, Japan. Thompson was awarded the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal for her meritorious service since her arrival to MCAS Iwakuni in 2018, where she held multiple billets, and supported multiple exercises and operations across the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Samantha Rodriguez)
Thompson was raised in a small farm town with a family entrenched in the U.S. Marine Corps. She was a product of dual military parents, especially with her father serving 28 years and her brother also bearing the title of a U.S. Marine. “I wanted to build a more sustainable and stable lifestyle,” said Thompson. “I saw my parents be successful doing it, so I wanted it too.” After attending college for three years, she made the decision to enlist in the Marine Corps in 2017. Growing up in Croswell, Mi., Thompson credits her athletic background and playing college volleyball at the Grand Valley State University for shaping one of the hallmarks of being a quality Marine. “Being an athlete helped me develop my small unit leadership,” said Thompson.
She related playing sports with her teammates in high school and college to guiding fellow Marines. In her experience, they both required being a team player, leading by example, and having a good attitude to accomplish an overall goal; whether it was during a match or on the flight line. This small unit leadership is reflected in Thompson’s work ethic, and influence over 60 Marines she was in charge of during her time. Her influence on the Marines around her paved way for her consistent selection for Marine of the Quarter, Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) of the Quarter, Marine Aircraft Group 12 NCO of the Year, and placed second in 1st Marine Aircraft Wing NCO of the Year.
“She sets the example in everything she does,” said Staff Sgt. Gideon Bennett, an F-35B aircraft avionics technician, and Thompson’s immediate supervisor for the past four years. “She has an unparalleled level of skill, puts max effort into each task she does, while effectively mentoring and developing those under her charge.” Since her arrival to MCAS Iwakuni in 2018, Thompson has been coined the ‘go to’ Marine at her unit, because of her relentless drive to outperform her peers, and lead by example. Thompson notes her various billets and progression has, “made a big impact on my career and learning progression.”
While Thompson’s squadron indulged in her skillset, she thrived while supporting exercises and operations across Japan and the United States. At Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, she served as an Off-Board Missions (OMS) chief where her responsibilities encompassed managing the intricate data systems, mission planning, and all around F-35B aircraft software that allow pilots to fly. Under this role, she directly contributed to VMFA-242’s mission success by leading the flight schedule without any significant impacts, resulting in the flying of all scheduled flights.
As an OMS chief, she created a manual, which focused on the readiness and training for OMS operations for her junior Marines and VMFA-242’s pilots. In her free time, she balances her dedication to the Marine Corps with her personal ambitions through pursuing her bachelor’s degree and volunteering within the local Japanese community.
“I wanted to make myself the best Marine I could be, and then potentially be able to teach other Marines and help other Marines along the way,” said Thompson.
Thompson’s continuous drive to improve, and selection for the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal sheds light on the Marine Corps standard for the model Marine to simply always be in the pursuit of excellence.
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