His infectious smile is well earned and contagious to those around him.
U.S. Navy Seaman Marcel L. Buckley, a surgical technician with 2nd Dental Battalion, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, closed out 2012 with the distinct honor of being selected as 2nd MLG’s Sailor of the Year.
The 22-year-old Newton native received the honor after being singled out by his senior leadership and competing against other sailors chosen for the group’s Sailor of the Year board.
The competition narrowed the field of contestants through a series of evaluations. A board of superiors tested participants on their understanding of basic military knowledge, job performance, fitness and appearance.
The board singled out Buckley as the outstanding candidate in the final round.
“I checked my uniform way too many times,” joked Buckley, who admitted it was his first time competing for such a high honor. “It was nerve-racking.”
Buckley credited confidence and knowledge for bringing him to the top of his peers. He said his time with his current unit really prepared him for the competition.
“I’m constantly learning from those around me,” he said. “I’m seeing more of the command and getting to know more people than I did before. I feel I am becoming more confident in myself with this command.”
He remained humble about his achievement, but his passion for serving patients showed on his face in the form of a wide, shameless smile, which follows him from one appointment to the next.
For Buckley, it is simple — he loves his job.
“I like helping people, so this is a perfect spot for me,” he said. “It is the experiences you get out of it. Every patient can be different from the last. It is never boring to me. I always find something interesting or learn something I didn’t know before.”
His work consumes most of his energy. He said he finds relief in reading, enjoying the camaraderie in the military and his ability to greet every day with a positive attitude. He openly admitted it can reach “the point of idiocy.”
“I came into the Navy looking to expand myself,” said Buckley. “As I went along, [the medical field] presented itself, and I went along with it. I just get better and better every day.”
Whether it is preparing for surgery, taking part in a kidney transplant or just completing his daily rounds, he views each case as a chance to delve even deeper into the medical profession.
“I am further improving in my career field every day,” said Buckley. “With me being here, I’m actually expanding myself more than I normally would. Not only am I participating in surgeries like I normally would, I am also learning dental, too.”
Buckley said he wants to continue his work with medicine in the military, and he may even pursue a position as a doctor.
A photo of Buckley, the group’s Sailor of the Year, will be on display in the 2nd MLG’s headquarters building until the end of 2013.