By Debbie Gregory.
The Marine Corps League awards the Sgt. Maj. Frederick B. Douglass award annually to a Marine who demonstrates superior qualities and actions during the performance of his or her duties in the aviation community.
Recommended by his leadership and approved by his commanding officer, Sgt. Jan Kamphuis is the most recent recipient of the prestigious award.
Kamphuis, an air traffic controller assigned to the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, said his Marine Corps career began shortly after he graduated from Roanoke University.
In spite of the fact that he is the only member of his immediate family to serve in the armed forces, Kamphuis said that his family reacted positively to his decision.
An air traffic controller has a wide range of responsibilities, including the deployment, recovery and tracking of aircraft in various locations.
Kamphuis performs his duties primarily in an expeditionary capacity.
“It’s a pretty good job,” said Kamphuis. “It can get difficult at times, but it’s rewarding.”
Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Timothy J. Layton, a fellow 26th MEU air traffic controller, said Kamphuis’ nomination and eventual selection for the award was partially due to his leadership of the sailors on his ship.
“When we disembark from a ship, we all work together as an integrated team to set up an airfield,” he said. “And Kamphuis has taken huge steps in preparing them to work with us and perform while we’re forward-positioned.”
Kamphuis has said his professional successes have influenced his plans for the future, and he plans to continue his career in the Marines.
“He’s never set a goal that he hasn’t accomplished,” Layton said. “He’s well-educated, capable and one of the best Marines I’ve worked with.”
Kamphuis said he still has his mind set on his current mission while deployed with the 26th MEU. “I want to do the best I can in my job, and I want to be the best Marine I can every single day,” he said.