Each year the Marine Corps League detachment serving Fayette and Coweta counties selects a detachment member who has made a positive impact and set a standard of service that serves as an example to all Marines. The Marine of the Year, as the award is designated, is chosen by a committee comprised of those formerly selected as Maines of the Year.
The Marine of the Year for 2021 of the Sgt. Clyde Thomason Medal of Honor Detachment #1325, Marine Corps league, is John Caldwell III of Newnan. Rodney Riggs, 2020 Marine of the Year, who announced the selection, said, “This year’s recipient has truly set the standard for service for our detachment. He has been a detachment member since 2011.
“During that time, he has served as Paymaster, Quartermaster, Junior Vice Commandant, Senior Vice Commandant, and Commandant. He currently serves as the Junior Past Commandant and Quartermaster. He is also the Pound Keeper (leader) for Pound 364 of the Military Order of the Devil Dogs. He is also the Color Sergeant for the detachment Color Guard and has led the way in numerous parades and other civic functions.”
The commendation continued, “He has participated in the Fallen Marine Program, the Marine Assist Program, and the Veteran’s Expo at the YMCA.” Caldwell was also recognized for his participation in the “flag give-a-way” program that, each year, raises thousands of dollars for veteran charities and in the local Toys for Tots program that serves a four-county area and places toys in the hands of 6,000 children annually.
In the community, Caldwell is active in the Newnan Theatre Company as both an actor and as a director and he participates in the detachment’s partnership with the Newnan Optimist Club’s Avenue of Flags. At the Coweta Veterans Club, he cooks steaks and wings at various times. He is also a leader in the detachment’s involvement with other veterans’ organizations.
Caldwell is active in the Hogansville Church of Christ where he teaches an adult Sunday School, is one of the song leaders, and occasionally fills in for the minister to deliver a sermon. He is employed by Home Depot in Newnan.
In 2005, Caldwell, who retired as a Master Sergeant (E-8), was deployed to Al Asad, Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He received numerous medals and ribbons for his service before being honorably discharged.
Jay Maxwell, Detachment Commandant, made the presentation of the 2021 Marine of the Year medal and certificate at the November meeting of the local detachment.