Young Marines Names SgtMaj Joshua Aikman of Merrero, LA, 'Young Marine of the Year' for Division 4

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The Young Marines, a national youth program, has named SgtMaj Joshua Aikman the Division 4 'Young Marine of the Year.' He has been invited to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima for the annual Reunion of Honor trip.

SgtMaj Joshua Aikman
"The Young Marines has changed me for the best. I act more mature, and I understand how to help people who are in trouble," Aikman said.

The Young Marines youth organization has named its Division 4 “Young Marine of the Year” – YM SgtMaj Joshua Aikman, 18, of Marrero, LA. Aikman is a member of the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office Young Marines of Harvey, LA. He is a senior at New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy.

“I feel excited to be named Division Young Marine of the Year,” he said, “because that was one of the goals I set as a member of the Young Marines.”

Aikman 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.

Aikman joined the Young Marines at age eight and currently, he is in his 10th year in the program. He joined because of his interest in the Marine Corps.

“The Young Marines as changed me for the best,” he said. “I act more mature, and I understand how to help people who are in trouble.”

Aikman has been named Division Young Marine of the Year three times. He has been recognized multiple times for skills in sportsmanship, map and compass, physical fitness, land navigation, marksmanship, swimming, fire prevention and protection, first aid, good conduct, CPR, seamanship, academic achievement, community leadership, communication and drill competition.

He has received the following awards: Commendation of Merit, Outstanding Salesman, Young Marines Achievement Award and Unit of the Year. He has also participated in Young Marines encampments, veterans’ appreciation, Color Guard, drug demand reduction, drill team and junior and senior leadership.

As a Young Marine of the Year, Aikman 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.

“I am so excited to travel to Guam and Iwo Jima,” he said, “because it is a once in a lifetime experience.”

In high school he participates in wrestling, marksmanship and fishing. Thinking of the future, he hopes to join the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office. Aikman said that being a Young Marine will help him in his goals, because it teaches him people skills and how to deal with a wide variety of situations.

Aikman is the son of Jessica and Kenneth Aikman Jr.

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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