BATTLE CREEK - Former Manistique resident, retired MSgt. Matthew J. Passino with the U.S. Marine Corps, was presented with the Federal Legion of Merit Award, the nation's sixth highest honor, during a ceremony held in early September at Fort Custer, Mich.
The Legion of Merit was established in 1942 to recognize exceptional performance of outstanding service and achievement.
Passino, who currently lives in the Battle Creek area, is employed by the Federal Government at the Federal Center located there. He served with the Marine Corps from 1988 to 2000 and later joined the Army National Guard where he was assigned to the 870th Military Police Company in Pittsburg, Calif. He mobilized to Fort Lewis, Wash., where he served as the Law and Order NCO, primary weapons instructor, and Provost Marshal Officer for the unit and to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
MSgt. Ret. Matthew Passino
It was for his service in Iraq that Passino was honored. His citation reads, "In theatre, MSgt. Passino led his platoon with distinction, conduction numerous joint missions with Iraqi Police which resulted in the capture of thousands of weapons. His proficiency and expertise was routinely called upon to assist with the preparation and training of both American and Allied forces....He distinguished himself in action as well, earning an Army Commendation Medal with 'V' device for valor when he led his team into battle, saving the lives of 18 U.S. soldiers."
After his return from Iraq, Passino served in the National Guard with the 46th Military Police Company from Kingsford, where he was again called upon to mobilize the unit for Hurricane Katrina Response with less than 48 hours notice. He later transferred units to HQ, 177th Regiment as the senior instructor for the Military Police School and was instrumental to the successful startup of the 31B program. Later, having been assigned as the 31B Course Manager, Passino successfully managed the program to receive a 100 percent score and institution of Excellence Award from the commandant of the Military Police Corps.
Passino, who is the son of Richard Passino of Manistique (Thompson Township), lived in Manistique and Gladstone from 2004-08 and worked for the Delta County Sheriff's Department. In 2006, he graduated top of his class from Bay de Noc Community College with an associate degree in criminal justice.
Since that time, he has earned a bachelor's degree in behavioral science in 2011 and completed his master's degree in international criminal justice