MCAS Iwakuni Legal Support Services Team wins Commandant’s Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance

The Legal Support Services Team (LSST) aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni virtually receives the 2020 Commandant's Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance, MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, April 2, 2021. The LSST was recognized for providing a greater quality of service to residents on the air station compared to other Marine Corps installations, despite the small size of their office. This was the first time the air station won the award. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Triton Lai)
The Legal Support Services Team (LSST) aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni virtually receives the 2020 Commandant's Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance, MCAS Iwakuni, Japan, April 2, 2021. The LSST was recognized for providing a greater quality of service to residents on the air station compared to other Marine Corps installations, despite the small size of their office. This was the first time the air station won the award. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Triton Lai)

MCAS Iwakuni Legal Support Services Team wins Commandant’s Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance

by Lance Cpl. Mitchell Austin
Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- The Legal Support Services Team (LSST) aboard Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni received the Commandant’s Award for Excellence in Legal Assistance (CAELA), on April 2, 2021.

The CAELA is awarded by the Commandant of the Marine Corps to recognize the hard work and long hours of active duty, reserve, and civilian legal assistance attorneys and legal service specialists, who have made outstanding contributions to Marine Corps legal assistance.

“I think one of the reasons why we won the award is because we do so much,” said Jeremy Call, a legal assistance attorney with the LSST. “We always try to get to yes.”

“People come in with problems – all we try to do is solve them, and its great,” said Call. “It’s a great job to be able to come into work and know that all I’m going to do is help people solve whatever problem they are facing today.”

The LSST focuses on providing a range of services from legal assistance to passport and immigration services for anyone on the installation who may need them. Call said his team is constantly looking to do more for the residents of the air station.

“The backbone of our office is the MLC [Master Labor Contractor] – they help out with many of the services around here,” said Call, referring to Japanese nationals who work aboard the base. “They are one of the reasons why the LSST is able to provide so many services for the installation.”

Junko Sakamoto, a LSST immigration specialist and Japanese employee, said that she is honored that the LSST has been recognized and awarded the CAELA, and that teamwork is what made it happen.

“Sakamoto, has been working at the office for 37 years – right when this office was built,” said Call. “She had to figure out how to do her job all by herself. Over time she has become an expert at her job.”

Sakamoto, who will retire in the fall of 2021, said she is happy her team won the CAELA, and that she knows she will be leaving LSST in good hands for the next employee to take her place.

“I started working here when it was very a small office,” said Sakamoto. “There have been good times and bad times, but I feel like I am ready to go. I did my best, and I am very glad that I was able to work here for this long time.”

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