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Pvt. Brant M. Thomas, son of Julie M. Thomas, Montrose, and Shane C. Wolf, Susquehanna, recently completed 12 weeks of basic training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, S. C. designed to challenge new Marine recruits both physically and mentally.
Brant and his fellow recruits ended their training phase with The Crucible, a 54-hour, team evolution culminating in an emotional ceremony in which recruits are presented the Marine Corps Emblem, and addressed as "Marines" for the first time in their careers.
A retirement ceremony was held on January 11 to honor Master Sergeant Brian D. Kuiper on the event of his retirement after 21 years in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Master Sergeant Brian D. Kuiper was born in Susquehanna, PA on August 9, 1968. He attended Susquehanna Community High School where he graduated in June, 1986. He attended Marine Corps Recruit Training at Marine Cops Recruit Depot Parris Island, South Carolina from March, 1987 to May, 1987 where he graduated as a Meritorious Private First Class.
After recruit training, Private First Class Kuiper attended Field Firefinder Radar Operator Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Upon completion of MOS training, he received follow on orders to Target Acquisition Battery, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina as a Field Firefinder Radar Operator.
Corporal Kuiper transferred in June, 1988 to Headquarters Battery, 10th Marine Regiment where he served as a Regimental Information Systems Coordinator. During this tour, he participated in operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm with the 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, providing support to 1st Battalion 10th Marines.
In December, 1991, Sergeant Kuiper executed orders to Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. He served as the Radar Employment Chief, supporting three Artillery Batteries. In June, 1993 Sergeant Kuiper transferred to Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 12th Marines as the Operations Chief, supporting back-to-back Combined Arms Exercises and a Marine Corps Readiness Evaluation System.
In March, 1994 Sergeant Kuiper reenlisted and made a lateral move to the Small System Specialist field, 4066 MOS, and worked as a Banyan Network Administrator with the Kaneohe Bay Base G-6. He attended the Small Computer Systems Course in February, 1995. Upon graduation he executed orders to Headquarters Battalion, Communications Company, 2nd Marine Division, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. There he served as the Data Chief, supporting all Marine Expeditionary force deployments. In February, 1996 Staff Sergeant Kuiper executed orders to 2nd Marine Division G-6, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He served as the Information Systems Management Office Chief. In March, 1999 Staff Sergeant Kuiper was released from active duty and transferred to the Individual Ready Reserve.
From 1999 to 2003, Gunnery Sergeant Kuiper performed active duty special work orders, twice with the G-6 Marine Forces Europe, Stuttgart, Germany and once with the G-6 Marine Forces Pacific, Camp Smith, Hawaii. In November, 2004 Master Sergeant Kuiper was the first Marine to join the Individual Manpower Augmentation Detachment at the Marine Corps Network Operations and Security Command, serving as the Data Chief and Senior Enlisted Advisor.
Master Sergeant Kuiper’s personal awards include: the Navy Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal with three bronze stars, Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation, Select Marine Corps Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Navy Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, and the Kuwait Liberation Medal.
Master Sergeant Kuiper is married to the former Amy Denise Cook of Susquehanna. They have a son, Austin, 13 and a daughter, Abigail, 6.
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