An instructor at Cherry Point has been selected as the Marine Corps nominee for an award honoring the Outstanding Department of Defense Employee with a Disability.
Staff Sgt. Zavian Simpson serves at the Center for Naval Aviation Technical Training Marine Unit.
"Marines strive in times of tribulation and adversity," Simpson said in a release. "It’s an incredible and humbling feeling to represent the Corps.
"When I was a recruit at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island I was taught that ‘Marines improvise, adapt, and overcome.’ The phrase was etched into my brain and it has helped aid me to overcome the difficulties associated with being an amputee. I take no day for granted and am proud to continue my service as a Marine."
The award is part of the National Affinity Groups distinguished service awards that recognize individual Marines and Marine Corps civilian employees who distinguish themselves through their professional achievements, significant contributions to their community, and high degree of personal integrity and ethical conduct, according to a release.
"To a Marine like Staff Sgt. Simpson, mission accomplishment is ensuring his students receive the proper training each and every day," Marine Lt. Col. Jaime Gutierrez, commanding officer of CNATTMARU at Cherry Point, said in a statement. "He is a fine example to future naval aviation maintainers that a leader can and will overcome any challenge placed in front of them."
Simpson was serving as a convoy commander for 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines when he was seriously wounded in the fall of 2005 in Afghanistan, according to the release. An improvised explosive device blew up his vehicle during a mounted convoy patrol. The blast resulted in the loss of his right leg below the knee.
Despite the serious injury, Simpson remained on active duty and continued his Marine Corps career. In 2008, he was promoted to the rank of staff sergeant and was awarded the Gung Ho Award for being an inspiration to his fellow Marines while attending the Staff Non-commissioned Officer Academy Career Course, according to the release.
As the senior non-commissioned officer in charge of advanced aircraft electrical systems technicians at CNATT, he is responsible for the training, qualification and scheduling of seven electrical systems instructors, and is also the command’s voting assistance officer.
Simpson is to be officially recognized during an awards ceremony later this year at the Pentagon.