Marine Corps Aviation Awards

Marine Corps Aviation Awards

The Marine Corps Aviation Awards are presented annually to individuals and units that represent the best in Marine aviation during the awarding period.

Procedures for Award Submissions:

1. Determine criteria for each award by referring to MCO 1650.29H.

2. Review and comply with Submission Instructions found in MARADMIN 503/23.

3. Forward the award submission, with all enclosures, via the endorsing chain to the Deputy Commandant for Aviation (ACP) in accordance with the Submission Guidance found in MARADMIN 503/232.

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Individual Awards

Alfred A. Cunningham Award - Marine Aviator of the Year
Robert Guy Robinson Award - Marine Naval Flight Officer of the Year
Earle Hattaway Award - Marine Aviation Ground Officer of the Year
Robert F. Gibson Award - Marine Aviation Command and Control Officer of the Year
Silver Hawk Award - Marine Aviator with earliest Designation Date
Frank E. Petersen Award - Marine Flight Student of the Year
Danny L. Radish Award - Marine Enlisted Aircrew of the Year
Willie D. Sproule Award - Aviation Maintenance Marine of the Year
Kenneth W. Southcomb Award - Aviation Supply Marine of the Year
Paul G. Vess Award - Avionics Marine of the Year
Gaines B. Gilbert Award - Aviation Ordnance Marine of the Year
Kenneth A. Innis Award - Aviation Command and Control Marine of the Year
Jack W. Demmond Award - Aviation Ground Marine of the Year
James E. Nicholson Award - Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Award
James Maguire Award - Exceptional Achievement
Michael A. Hough Acquisition Award - Acquisition Excellence in Marine Aviation
Commandant Aviation Trophy for Superior Performance in Marine Aviation


Submission Guidance

Award Period
  • 01 January through 31 December 2023.

Submission Deadline
  • 15 January 2024 at HQMC(ACP).

Format Requirements
  • Documents

    • All award submissions (i.e. SOA, Bio, citation, unit history) shall be submitted in Courier New 12-point font, and standard sentence capitalization (NOT ALL CAPS).

    • No Adobe PDFs will be accepted except for the signed nomination letter and the signed endorsements that accompany a package. 

  • Photographs – Due to follow on print publication requirements, photographs shall be submitted IAW the following guidelines.

    • Individual photographs shall be standard USMC command photo format (Service A with no border or text box).

    • All photographs shall be submitted as stand-alone high resolution digital “JPEG” files (NOT attached to a Word or PowerPoint file) and need to be a minimum size of 2400 pixels x 3000 pixels (portrait) or 3000 pixels by 2400 pixels (landscape).

    • Utilize very low compressed JPEG setting on camera (i.e. highest camera JPEG quality setting).

    • Do not resize or compress photographs for emailing purposes.

    • Recommend utilizing local COMMSTRAT IOT meet the above requirements.

    • *Photos for individual award nominations are a requirement for submissions to HQ USMC AVN only, all photo submission requirements from the squadron level to the MAG / Wing is at the discretion of the individual MAG / Wing. 

  • Naming convention – Name all files IAW the below guidelines IOT facilitate HQMC boarding process.

    • Individual Awards (e.g. Cunningham - LtCol Gillette, VMFA-121, 3dMAW, SOA)

      • 1. Award_Rank_LName_Unit_MAW_Nomination.pdf

      • 2. Award_Rank_LName_Unit_MAW_SOA.pdf  

      • 3. Award_Rank_LName_Unit_MAW_Bio.pdf

      • 4. Award_Rank_LName_Unit_MAW_Citation.docx

      • 5. Award_Rank_LName_Unit_MAW_POC Sheet.docx

      • 6-9. Award - Award_Rank_LName_Unit_MAW_PhotoX.jpg (e.g. PhotoCmd, Photo1, Photo2)

      • 10. Award_Rank_LName_Unit_MAW_Photo Captions.docx

    • Unit Awards (e.g. CMC Trophy - VMFA-121, 1stMAW, SOA)

      • 1. Award_Unit_MAW_Nomination.pdf

      • 2. Award_Unit_MAW_SOA.pdf

      • 3. Award_Unit_MAW_Unit History.pdf

      • 4. Award_Unit_MAW_Citation.docx

      • 5. Award_Unit_MAW_POC Sheet.docx

      • 6-10. Award_Unit_MAW_PhotoX.jpg (e.g. Photo1, Photo2...Photo5)

      • 11. Award_Unit_MAW_Insignia.jpg

      • 12. Award_Unit_MAW_Photo Captions.docx

      • 13. Award_Unit_MAW_Stat Sum.xlsx

Endorsement Requirement
  • All submissions (including deployed units) must be endorsed through their parent chain of command to the first General Officer prior to submission to HQMC AVN(ACP). 

Submission Requirements
  • All nomination packages will be submitted to HQMC AVN via MS Teams.  Access to the MCAA Submission Teams site will be granted by HQMC AVN (ACP).    

  • Wing and equivalent MSC representatives will contact HQMC AVN (ACP) to request access to the MCAA MS Teams portal for submission. 

  • AVN POC – LtCol Phillip Wiktor,, 703-693-4108.

Individual Awards

All nomination packages shall include the following documentation:

  • Nomination letter with signed endorsements in Adobe PDF.

  • Comprehensive Summary of Action(s), not to exceed two (2) pages.

  • Biography of individual, not to exceed one (1) page.

  • Proposed Citation, (landscape format) not to exceed 1250 characters.

  • POC Information

    • Unit Contact Information, to include

      • POC

      • Work phone number

      • Work email address

    • Nominee Contact Information, to include:

      • Work mailing addresses

      • Work phone number

      • Work email address

  • Photographs:

    • One (1) color high-resolution digital, current official head shot photo of the nominee in the Service ”A” uniform (no border or text box).  For deployed Marines, Service “C” or Marine Corps Combat Utilities may be worn.

    • Three (3) different color high-resolution digital photos of the nominee in the working environment.

      • A separate Word document must contain short captions for each photo as well as the photographer’s POC information (for publishing credit).

Unit Awards

All nomination packages shall include the following documentation:

  • Nomination letter with signed endorsements in Adobe PDF.

  • Comprehensive Summary of Action(s), not to exceed three (3) pages.

  • Unit history

  • Proposed Citation, (landscape format) not to exceed 1250 characters.

  • Commanding Officer contact information, to include:

    • Work mailing addresses

    • Work phone number

    • Work email address

  • Photographs:

    • Five (5) different color high-resolution digital photos. Please include a variety of action shots of people, equipment, and aircraft.

      • A separate Word document must contain short captions appropriate to the unit’s mission for each photo as well as photographer’s POC information (for publishing credit).

    • A high resolution digital image of the squadron insignia. 

  • Unit Statistical Summary, per enclosure 5 of MCO 1650.29H. 

Awards Eligibility

Eligibility for all awards is IAW MCO 1650.29H with the following updates/exceptions:

  • Robert M. Hanson – Add F-35B/C squadrons to eligibility. All VMFA squadrons, Regular or Reserve.

  • Frank E. Petersen - All Marine Flight Students (Post winging).  See updated award info sheet located on website.

  • John I. Hudson – Add VMU Squadron of the Year award. All VMU squadrons, Regular or Reserve. See updated award info sheet on website.

Common Errors
  • Overall

    • Late or incomplete submissions.

    • MSC lack of familiarity with submission requirements.

    • Poor write-ups (i.e., CertComm vice service level award quality).

    • Utilizing outdated templates/examples.

  • Documents

    • Submitted in pdf format vice word doc format.

    • Citations, SOAs, Biographies over character limit.

    • Incorrect naming convention.

    • Incorrect formatting.

  • Photos

    • Command photos with banners, borders, Marine/unit name.

    • Photos not print quality.

    • Photographer POC is unit POC vice actual photographer.  The actual photographer will be crediting in publishing.

    • Incorrect naming convention.

    • Incorrect number of photos (too few or many).

    • Captions and photos do not match.

  • Command Insignia

    • Unauthorized command insignia submitted.

    • Command insignia is web quality vice print quality.

    • Submitted in pdf or word format vice JPEG.


MCO 1650.29H


LtCol Phillip Wiktor, ACP
(703) 693-4108

Wing nominations/updates to HQ AVN - follow submission portal to upload award information.



Marine Corps Order 1650.29H - View HERE.

Wing Update Example - View HERE.



Q: Are photographs still a requirement for MCAA award submissions to HQ AVN?

  • A: Yes.  In keeping with MARADMIN 491/20, photo submissions for MCAA award nominees are not used for selection purposes.  Photos are used for follow on publication purposes for the final award winners.       


Contact Us

Headquarters, Marine Corps
Department of Aviation

Aircrew Programs Branch
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Room 5D514
Washington, DC 20350

Office: (703) 693-4108

Marine Aviation