Story by Lance Cpl. Zachary Larsen, Marine Corps Installations Pacific
Utilitiesman 2nd Class Kody Schwartz joined the Navy to work as a utilitiesman in April 2014. For the first three years of his Naval career, Schwartz was stationed with Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 1 In December 2018 he was stationed on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma with the Seabees.
Within two years of being stationed here, Schwartz became a vital asset to Headquarter and Support Battalion. He is a Marine Corps Instructor of Water Survival, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response advocate, father, husband, and nominee for Sailor of the Year.
“I love helping people,” said Schwartz. “I love the feeling of impacting someone’s life for the better, mentally or physically. It’s the best feeling in the world that wouldn’t trade for anything.”
While with the Seabees, Schwartz has helped countless Marines by fixing utilities for the betterment of life in workplaces and barracks. He showed leadership traits in everyday work, and was assigned as his shop supervisor.
“Schwartz is a great leader,” said U.S. Navy Seaman Brett Rudolph, an equipment operator with U.S. Seabees, native of Lynnville, Indiana. “He always puts his troops first, and would never ask us to do some he wouldn’t do himself.”
MCIWS gave Schwartz a chance to train Marines in the water and expand his responsibilities in the battalion. He is the primary MCIWS for H&S Bn, one of the largest battalions in the Marine Corps. He tries to host at least one swim qualification every month, but due to COVID-19, it’s difficult to host swim qualifications. Schwartz has been able to train Marines in basic, intermediate, and advanced swim qualifications.
“I remember going to the pool to just swim, and there was a MCIWS in the water swimming,” said Schwartz. “We talked about what MCIWS’s do and why they are so important, and from then on I was hooked.”
In October 2020, Schwartz volunteered to become a SAPR advocate to help his fellow Marines and sailors. SAPR advocates, active duty military personnel and Department of Defense Employees, provide support and care to individuals who have experienced all forms of sexual abuse. They ensure sexual assault is prevented and eliminated within the military.
“He encourages the people around him constantly to better themselves,” said Rudolph. “He isn’t just a vital role to our shop, he is a vital role to the battalion.”