GySgt Joseph M. Derringer joined the facility on 17 Jul 2014 and was the Tower Chief from 20 Apr 2015 to 22 May 2016.

Gunnery Sergeant Joseph “PC” Derringer was born in Mount Clemens, Michigan, and raised in Buffalo, New York. He graduated from Sweet Home High School in 1999 and continued his education at Niagara County Community College before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in December of 2003. He shipped to recruit training in May of 2004 and after earning the title of United States Marine reported to Camp Geiger, North Carolina for training as a Basic Rifleman through Marine Combat Training (MCT). After completing MCT in October of 2004 he reported to Marine Aviation Training Support Group 21 aboard Naval Air Station Pensacola where he would attend his “A” School for Air Traffic Control (ATC), and in February of 2005 graduated as the honor graduate; earning his initial Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) of 7251 – Air Traffic Control Trainee.

After graduation Lance Corporal Derringer was issued orders to report to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron (H&HS), Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) Iwakuni, Japan. He was assigned to the tower branch and immediately began training toward his MOS assignment of 7257 – Air Traffic Control Specialist, which he received in October of 2005. One year later he was promoted to Corporal and completed his training on Local Control, receiving his first Federal Aviation Administration Control Tower Operator (CTO) certification which resulted in the assignment of an additional MOS of 7252 – Local Controller. He would subsequently serve as a Tower Watch Supervisor (TWS) for various crews until being issued orders to report to Marine Air Control Squadron 2 (MACS 2), Air Traffic Control Detachment A (DET A), Beaufort, South Carolina in March of 2007. Corporal Derringer reported to the Advanced Radar Air Traffic Control (ARATC) course for academic training toward Approach and Arrival Control while en route to MACS 2 DET A and graduated as the honor graduate.

Upon reporting to MACS 2 DET A, Corporal Derringer was immediately loaned to Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, MCAS Beaufort, South Carolina through the Fleet Assistance Program (FAP). While attached to H&HS, he achieved qualifications on Tower Flight Data and Ground Control before being returned to the Detachment to deploy to Iraq.

On January 1st, 2008, he was promoted to Sergeant, and was deployed to Al Taqaddum (TQ), Iraq 2 weeks later. While deployed with MACS 2 DET A, he was assigned as the assistant MMT Leader for the Al Fallujah Marine Air Traffic Control Mobile Team (MMT), and served with that team for four months before being recalled to Al Taqaddum. While aboard TQ, he received his second FAA CTO certification, and was assigned as a TWS. He voluntarily extended into a second consecutive tour and continued to serve as a TWS for the following 6 months with MACS 2 DET C, before returning to MCAS Beaufort in February of 2009. One week after returning he reenlisted for the first time and FAP’d to H&HS once again. This time he was assigned as the Crew Chief for ATC Crew 1 for a short time, before being recalled to deploy once more.

In August of 2009, Sergeant Derringer deployed to TQ for a second time, this time he would be assigned as an MMT Leader for the Sahl Sanjar Forward Operating Base (FOB), ultimately being the last Aviation personnel present when the FOB was closed. In September, Sergeant Derringer was selected for promotion to the rank of Staff Sergeant. After returning to TQ, he regained his TWS designation and supported 24 hour tower operations until TQ was closed in December and was again one of the last Aviation personnel to leave the base. In December of 2009, MACS 2 DET A returned to MCAS Beaufort where Sergeant Derringer was assigned as the Training Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO), and was informed that he has been selected by the Headquarters Recruiting Screening Team for potential assignment to a tour as a Recruiter. After being found qualified, Sergeant Derringer was issued orders to report to Basic Recruiters Course (BRC) in July of 2010. On July 1st, 2010, he was promoted to Staff Sergeant and joined the prestigious ranks of the Marine Staff Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO).

On July 6th, 2010 he reported to BRC for training as an 8411 – Canvassing Recruiter. He was assigned as the Class Leader and graduated in the top 10% of his class before being issued orders to Recruiting Station (RS) Buffalo, New York. On October 1st, 2010 he checked in to RS Buffalo and was assigned to Recruiting Sub-Station (RSS) Niagara Falls, Permanent Contact Station (PCS) Tonawanda. Overjoyed that he was assigned to the very PCS that he was recruited through, and the opportunity to recruit out of his own high school, Staff Sergeant Derringer hit the ground running and earned Rookie Recruiter of the Year his first year. After recruiting for 6 more months, he was selected to be the successor to take command of his RSS, and was assigned as the Station Commander or RSS Niagara Falls. In October of 2012, RSS Niagara Falls would be restructured from a 3-man station to RSS Tonawanda, a 5-man station with an increased responsibility and mission to the RS. In September of 2013, he would complete his Recruiting Tour successfully and be issued orders to return to the fleet.

In October of 2013, Staff Sergeant Derringer reported for duty with MACS 2 DET C, Marine Corps Auxiliary Landing Field (MCALF) Bogue Field, North Carolina. He was quickly qualified to operate the expeditionary tower on the airfield and supported tower manning for several months prior to being sent to Weapons Tactics Instruction (WTI) aboard MCAS Yuma, Arizona for the MMT Leader and Instructor’s Course in March of 2014. After graduating and being designated as an MMT Instructor, Staff Sergeant Derringer returned to Bogue Field and was assigned to an MMT in support of Mountain Warfare Training in Bridgeport, California. In May of 2014, he was selected for promotion to the venerable rank of Gunnery Sergeant. Upon completion of the exercise, he was FAP’d to H&HS to support facility operations and pursue radar qualifications.

In July of 2014, Staff Sergeant Derringer checked in to H&HS and was assigned as the Crew Officer for ATC Crew 1. In October, he completed his training on Local Control, receiving his 3rd FAA CTO certification, and was subsequently designated as a TWS. He was promoted to his present rank on November 1st, 2014. In February of 2015, he began training in the radar branch to obtain the 7253 and 7254 MOS designations – Arrival Controller and Approach Controller, before being assigned as the Tower Chief. He continues to pursue his training and qualifications.

Gunnery Sergeant Derringer’s personal awards include The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with one gold star, the Good Conduct Medal with two bronze stars, two Certificates of Commendation, and three Meritorious Masts.

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