31st MEU Marine recognized as honor graduate of Career Course, giving merit to previous accomplishments
Story by Cpl. Jonathan Wright
OKINAWA, Japan - Whether in a combat zone or back in garrison, under a hail of enemy gunfire or conducting a class, there are some Marines that seem to excel in any situation.
One such Marine is Staff Sgt. John Rudd, honor graduate for Career Course 4-12 here, June 12, and explosive ordnance disposal team leader with Combat Logistics Battalion 31, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
Rudd was the only 31st MEU Marine represented in CC 4-12, rising above dozens of other leaders in his class to be honored as the best. To his credit, Rudd not only dealt with stiff competition from his peers, but also faced difficulties of a personal nature. During his time in Career Course, his wife experienced a complicated labor, giving birth to a dangerously-premature baby.
“While he was in the course, he had some personal issues that could have hindered him, something others could have taken as a reason not to push through, something as a way out,” said Gunnery Sgt. Troy McQueen, chief instructor for CC 4-12. “But he did push through. He stayed focused and excelled in the course, handing those issues as well as leading and mentoring other Marines in the course.”
Totaling seven and a half weeks of daily physical training and professional education at the staff non-commissioned officer level, the staff sergeants and sergeants selected for promotion were tested in every facet of their rank.
Leadership plays a large role in the courses of the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, requiring Rudd to use battle-tested skills and knowledge to come out on top.
“It certainly lives up to its name, it is an absolute honor to be recognized among my peers,” said Rudd, a native of Savannah, Ga. “However, I focus on what the course did for me. My career field is small, and the course broaden my horizons by not only opening my eyes to some of the other aspects in the Marine Corps, but it also deepened my network pool by bringing me together with others in my rank that I would not have otherwise met.”
The recognition as honor graduate serves as further testament to Rudd’s already distinguished record as a Marine.
Rudd was recently awarded the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device for his actions on July 27, 2011, in Afghanistan. During a firefight with Taliban forces, Rudd disabled an Improvised Explosive Device and rendered life-saving aid to a seriously-wounded Afghan child.
While not a combat distinction, Rudd’s selection as honor graduate is an impressive feat that further highlights his exceptional career.
“The Career Course is a tough program where the Marines are thoroughly tested both mentally and physically,” said Maj. Omar Randall, commanding officer of CLB-31, 31st MEU. “For a Marine to stand out among his peers in this program is truly special and is a testament to the superior character of Staff Sgt. Rudd.”
With the course now complete, Rudd will try to make as significant an impression on his Marines and peers as he did with the instructors of the Career Course.
“Staff Sgt. Rudd embodies what we look for in leaders of Marines,” said Gunnery Sgt. Larry Nunn Jr., faculty advisor for CC 4-12. “He encompasses what we strive to teach in the course, making him a phenomenal overall Marine.”