2001 Marine of the Year
First Sergeant Harry Rivera
First Sgt. Harry Rivera exemplifies the best the U.S. Marine Corps has to offer. “He is a super leader, in field and in garrison,” says one of his superiors. “A textbook Marine - articulate, smart and knowledgeable.” With a wealth of knowledge gained in real-world combat in Panama and Saudi Arabia, Rivera sets the highest standard for his Marines, and is a tireless leader who does not believe in idle time or unfinished projects. When Rivera came to his command “it was like night and day,” says his sergeant major. The attitude and performance level of those under him changed dramatically. “He makes every Marine feel good about themselves.” Very adaptable in dealing with Marines of all ranks, “he treats every Marine with respect,” says a superior.
Marines who are in trouble know that he will be both fair and firm, and he has been instrumental in improving morale for Marines living in the barracks. He has increased interest and attendance at cultural diversity events to the point where they have become standing-room only affairs. Within his community, he’s a family man who has become a trusted resource for other Marine families. During the recent teachers’ strike in Hawaii, he kept military parents informed so they could take care of their children during this time. He has also brought the DARE program into classrooms to help educate children about drug and alcohol abuse. As one superior stated, “He is a true professional, committed to the Corps. It is an honor to mention his name.” For his dedication to the Corps and his contributions to his community, we say to 1st Sgt. Rivera, Semper Fi!