CLETIS S. EVANS, JR HONORED WITH 2017 RODNEY WILLIAMS, JR MEMORIAL AWARD
Lexington, Kentucky; April 28, 2017: Presented annually at the Officer Selection Officer (OSO) Colonel William “Rich” Higgins Memorial Mess Night/Dining-In to an individual selected by the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of Kentucky (MCCCK) Board of Directors, who has demonstrated exemplary community leadership and commitment, with a long history of dedicated service to Marine Corps related activities within the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Following a recitation of the below citation, a personalized engraved Marine Corps plaque was presented to Capt Cletis S. Evans, Jr., USMC (Ret), Louisville, Kentucky, by Russell B. Scott, Jr., on behalf of the MCCCK.
Following his 1985 enlistment in the United States Marine Corps and his subsequent graduation from Recruit Training at Parris Island, South Carolina, he embarked on a 22 year Marine Corps career, which would take him from duties as a radio repairman assigned to the 2nd Assault Amphibious Battalion of the 2nd Marine Division to combat service as a captain with the 2nd Marine Division (Forward) during deployments to Al-Anbar Province, Iraq. His Marine Corps service encompassed multiple overseas deployments and assignments, to include contingency duty in the Mediterranean Sea; as well as tactical support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Kuwait); Operation Sea Signal (Guantanamo Bay, Cuba); and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq).
Having excelled in a number of varied assignments, he was selected for promotion and appointment as a warrant officer in 1997. Following his graduation from The Basic School the same year, he again served overseas in Okinawa, Japan, with multiple deployments to Korea, Guam, and Thailand. In 2002, he was selected and promoted to the commissioned rank of captain. His last assignments on active duty were with the 2nd Marine Division (Forward) at Camp Blue Diamond, Ar Ramadi, Iraq (2005-2006) and Camp Fallujah, Iraq (2007-2008), both in direct support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He retired from active duty on July 31, 2008. His personal decorations include: Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with one Gold Star, and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with two Gold Stars.
Following his Marine Corps retirement, he embarked on a second career dedicated to the service of fellow veterans, volunteering and excelling in key leadership positions with the Marine Corps League “Toys for Tots” program; Military Officers Association of America (MOAA); Noncommissioned Officers Association of America (NCOA); and Honor Flight Bluegrass Chapter, an organization dedicated to transporting World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam War veterans to their respective memorials in Washington, DC. Since 2012, he has served in his current capacity as Coordinator of the Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” program, through which he has been instrumental in the collection and subsequent disbursement of over 235,000 toys at Christmas, to just under 88,000 children in the Kentucky counties of Jefferson, Oldham, Shelby, Spencer, and Henry, as well as the Eastern Kentucky counties of Letcher, Clay, and Bell.