Young Marines Names SgtMaj Jason Mooney of Parkville, MD 'Young Marine of the Year' for Division 2

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The Young Marines, a national youth program, has named SgtMaj Jason Mooney the Division 2 'Young Marine of the Year.' He has been invited to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip.

SgtMaj Jason Mooney
My brother was a Marine at the time I joined, and I wanted to do something that made me just like him," Mooney said.

The Young Marines youth organization has named its Division 2 “Young Marine of the Year” – YM SgtMaj Jason Mooney, 16, of Parkville, MD. Mooney is a member of the Hamilton Young Marines of Baltimore, MD.

“I feel joy, excitement, and that wow feeling,” Mooney said. “There are so many impressive Young Marines throughout my division, and to be selected as the Division 2 Young Marine of the Year is quite an honor.”

Mooney will represent his division in competing with five other regional Young Marines of the Year for the title of National Young Marine of the Year which will be announced at the adult leaders’ conference for Young Marines in June in Washington, D.C. He will have to answer questions about his duties and current events.

He joined the Young Marines at age 10 and currently, he is in his sixth year in the program. He credits the Young Marines for teaching him to be the leader he is today.

“My brother was a Marine at the time I joined, and I wanted to do something that made me just like him,” Mooney said. “Little did I know, the Young Marines program would open a world of opportunities.”

The organization taught him the importance of being involved in his community and to lend a hand when he is needed.

“I also learned to never give in and to reach for the stars,” he said. “No matter what I start, quitting is never an option. Since becoming a Young Marine, I have been able to achieve much more that I ever thought possible.”

Mooney was the honor graduate of his recruit class in 2007 and of the Senior Leadership Academy in 2012. He has been awarded the DEA device for his efforts in drug demand reduction. Twice he received the perfect physical fitness ribbon for scoring a 500 on the physical fitness test. In addition, he has been awarded two personal commendations from the National Executive Director Mike Kessler for his work on the annual Division 2 winter encampment in 2013 and for his work as the YM SgtMaj of the Code Talkers event also in 2013.

As a Young Marine of the Year, Mooney is invited to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip. He will join the five other division winners named Young Marines of the Year, the two winners of the Young Marines’ annual Jimmie Trimble scholarship; the national Young Marine of the Year SgtMajor Dakota Richter; and Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines.

“The trip to Guam and Iwo Jima to spend time with our veterans is such a wonderful opportunity,” he said. “I have met some amazing veterans over the past six years, and getting to know some of them more personally will be such an honor. I am looking forward to sharing this experience with them.”

He is a junior at Parkville High School where he participates in soccer, baseball and football. He is a Cadet Sergeant in the school’s Marine Corps ROTC. He plans to attend college, participate in ROTC and become a Marine Corps officer.

“I believe that the lessons I have learned from the Young Marines will help me as I work towards my goals,” he said. “I have learned teamwork, leadership and discipline, and I have learned a great deal about myself during my six years in the program. Doing 100 percent of what is expected is just doing your job, but going the extra mile and doing 110 percent will win the prize you have your eye on.”

Mooney is the son of Terry and Krista Mooney.

How it works

The Young Marines organization is divided into six divisions across the United States. Each Young Marine goes through a series of selection processes starting at the unit level, going through battalion, regiment and on to the division. At the division level, the packages (portfolios) of the final candidates are reviewed for consideration.

Annually, one Young Marine of the Year is selected from each division. From these six winners, only one will be named the national “Young Marine of the Year” which will be announced in May, 2014.

Mike Kessler, national executive director and CEO of the Young Marines, calls each division winner to congratulate her or him. Then he invites each to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip.

“The trip gives each division winner a chance to showcase the program and the good work done by the Young Marines with veterans,” Kessler said. “The trip serves as an invaluable history lesson unable to be found in any book. Also, I get to know them and see how each interacts with others. If selected as the National YMOY, he or she will work for me, so this piece is important.”

The Young Marines is a national non-profit 501c(3) youth education and service program for boys and girls, age eight through the completion of high school. The Young Marines promotes the mental, moral and physical development of its members. The program focuses on teaching the values of leadership, teamwork and self-discipline, so its members can live and promote a healthy, drug-free lifestyle.

Since the Young Marines' humble beginnings in 1959 with one unit and a handful of boys, the organization has grown to over 300 units with 10,000 youth and 3,000 adult volunteers in 46 states, the District of Columbia, Germany, Japan and affiliates in a host of other countries.

For more information, visit the official website at:

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