NMC alumna earns Military Excellence Award at RTC

Posted on May 19 2023


Seaman recruit Lili Duan, who graduated summa cum laude from the Northern Marianas College, has graduated as the top sailor from Recruit Training Command, earning the Military Excellence Award. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

GREAT LAKES—Seaman recruit Lili Duan graduated as the top sailor from Recruit Training Command, earning the Military Excellence Award last May 12.

Duan, from Saipan in the Northern Marianas Islands, joined the Navy to serve the country and inspire others.

“I’ve always had Navy pride and I believe it is everyone’s responsibility to protect our nation,” Duan said. “I want to inspire my daughter that it is never too late to follow your dream.”

Duan graduated summa cum laude from the Northern Marianas College, earning a bachelor’s degree in business management in 2020.

Duan was employed as an administrative manager at the college and is fluent in English, Mandarin, and Korean.

Duan is assigned to the rate of yeoman.

The Navy Club of the United States Military Excellence Award is the top award presented to the recruit that best exemplifies the qualities of enthusiasm, devotion to duty, military bearing and teamwork. The award places Duan at the pinnacle of today’s newest sailors.

Duan is awarded a flag letter of commendation as part of this recognition.

Duan is proud to receive the MEA. “I consider it a milestone in my life,” she said. “It proved what I have always believed—you will receive good results for all your hard work and to keep trying your best.”

Duan credited her Recruit Division Commanders, Chief Electronics Technician Chelsea Cooper, Chief Logistics Specialist Collin David, and Aviation Maintenance Administration 1st Class Andy Chandarath for their leadership and guidance.

Being a maternal role model motivated Duan throughout boot camp.

“I want to be a good example to my 7-year-old, Sophia,” she said. “I want to inspire her not to quit easily, just take the hits, and keep moving.”

Duan said the most challenging part of boot camp was learning a new way of life.

“The daily schedule is long and intense,” she said. “There are new ways of communicating, new living environments, new food, and so much more. It was a shock for me physically and mentally. I calmed myself down and figured it would be a good opportunity to create good habits that will benefit my future.”

After graduation, Duan will attend Yeoman “A” School in Meridian, Mississippi. Yeomen perform secretarial, administrative and clerical work.

Boot camp is approximately 10 weeks and all enlistees into the U.S. Navy begin their careers at the command. Training includes five warfighting competencies of firefighting, damage control, seamanship, watchstanding, and small arms handling and marksmanship along with physical fitness and lessons in Navy heritage and core values, Warrior Toughness, Life Skills teamwork and discipline. More than 40,000 recruits train annually at the Navy’s only boot camp.


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