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Okinawa, Japan
Okinawa Marine earns 2017 Marine Corps Enlisted Aide of the Year

By Cpl. Andrew Neumann | III Marine Expeditionary Force | October 31, 2017

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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa, Japan – The enlisted aide to the III Marine Expeditionary Force commanding general will be recognized as the 2017 Enlisted Aide of the Year during a formal dinner in Arlington, Virginia, Nov. 14.

Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey D. Matthews earned the award over 21 other Marine Corps enlisted aides who assist general-grade officers by organizing social engagements of organizational importance.

“Gunnery Sergeant Matthews’ professionalism and knowledge has enabled him to provide the utmost level of service,” said Lt. Gen. Lawrence D. Nicholson, the III MEF commanding general. “His coordination, preparation, and execution of social events have allowed me the ability to foster and grow community relations within Okinawa.”

Matthews, a Baltimore native who has been an enlisted aide for four years, said some of the previous winners are his friends and even mentors.

“You have other enlisted aides that are certified executive chefs,” Matthews said. “It easily could have gone to someone else. I’m just happy and humble to receive the award.”

Throughout 2017, Matthews planned, coordinated, and executed 11 formal dinners and receptions supporting Nicholson. He served the consulate general of the Naha Embassy, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, and the U.S. Marine Forces Pacific commander.

Matthews said the Marine Corps has given him a multitude of opportunities to further his culinary career. In September, the Marine Corps sent him to The Master Series, a five-part, cake decorating class at The Wilton School, in Illinois.

“I’ve encouraged so many Marines to just submit a package to become an enlisted aide,” Matthews said. “There are so many amazing opportunities. I don’t think I could choose one as my favorite.”

Now that Matthews has won Marine Corps Enlisted Aide of the Year, he will compete against the other services for the Inter-Service Enlisted Aide of the Year.

As Matthews prepares for the upcoming competition, he remains focused on one goal.

“I just like my general officer to look like the best host,” he said. “When guests come to Okinawa, the quality of food and service they receive is unmatched anywhere else.”
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