The Reservist of the Year
The Reservist of the Year is a Marine who stands out, over and above 39,000 others in the Corps’ Reserve Force. Sgt. Dante Capane, did just that. He was selected from a highly qualified group and submitted to the sergeant major of the Marine Corps. Capane’s nomination came from his commanding officer, Capt. John M. Schneider.
“Sgt. Capane’s initiative, performance and tireless efforts have set the standard,” said Schneider, Military Police Company B, Headquarters and Service Battalion, 4th Marine Logistics Group. “It is with the utmost enthusiasm that I nominate Sgt. Capane for the Marine Forces Reserve Marine of the year.”
On Sept. 26 Capane shook the commandant of the Marine Corps’ hand as he accepted the award at the Enlisted Awards Parade during the 32nd edition of the Modern Day Marine Military Exposition at Marine Corps Base Quantico’s Lejeune Field.
“I was beside myself,” said Capane, a military policeman with MP Co. B. “I’ve always put myself out there, in the position to do good things; but that’s what Marines do as a whole.”
In his nomination letter, Schneider went into detail about Capane’s professional achievements, but Capane brushes them off and says that’s how all Marines should be.
“I don’t’ know what I did any different last year, than what I’ve done every single year I’ve been in the Marine Corps,” he said. “No matter what you are… Reserve, active duty, retired, you’re a Marine 24/7. If you conduct yourself that way, people are going to see you as professional.”
Capane joined the Marine Corps to become that professional.
“I loved the idea of brotherhood in the Marine Corps and being part of a team that always wins and is doing something a little better,” he said. “To this day I still believe that 100 percent of what we do as Marines is above and beyond.”
In October of 2006, Capane left home for boot camp where he began the transformation into the Marine he is today. After boot camp, he returned home to Pittsburgh where he went to school during the week and conducted his Marine duties one weekend a month. For Capane though, being in the Reserves didn’t just mean being a “weekend warrior.”
“Even though as Reservists we work only one weekend a month, we still have to be involved,” said Capane. “It’s not just show up for two days and go away. We have to be involved in our Marines’ lives; we have to be in touch with them.”
He was so dedicated to the Corps, he accepted active-duty orders to work at his Reserve center in support of the other Marines there. During this time, he met a fellow Marine who later became a close friend.
“He’s always the guy that people are trying to emulate,” said Sgt. Andrew Notbohm, also with MP Co. B. “He sets the example for junior Marines, [noncommissioned officers] and the staff NCOs.”
Capane and Notbohm deployed to Afghanistan together in 2010. They were in the same squad, and Notbohm was behind him on every patrol. Eventually, Capane became a gunner, or handler, for the M240B machine gun, and Notbohm became his assistant gunner.
Once their company returned from deployment, Capane volunteered to remain on active duty in order to train and support the Marines of MP Co. B. He provided guidance to any Marine that required assistance and made sure they got the help they needed.
He became Cpl. Justin Dearmitt’s team leader, who enjoyed having Capane as a mentor. Capane helped improve Dearmitt’s knowledge by motivating him to complete all his Marine Corps Institute courses, a requirement for advancement.
“He was always motivated,” said Dearmitt, also with MP Co. B. “He was always in a good mood… I was going through a lot of things right then, and he was always there.”
In June 2011, then Cpl. Capane, went to Corporals’ Course and received the “Gung Ho” award for his esprit de corps, leadership and academic excellence. He returned to his unit and put his skills to work by teaching Marines everything he learned in the course.
In August 2011, Capane was selected to attend a semi-automatic grenade launcher instructor’s course. He returned to his unit and made numerous recommendations on the employment of the launcher for the military police mission.
All of this led to Capane being selected as the NCO of the quarter for the 3rd quarter of 2011 in his battalion. On Nov. 1, 2011, Capane was meritoriously promoted to the rank of sergeant.
“In the year of 2011, Sgt. Capane made significant contributions to the Marine Corps and Military Police Company Bravo,” said Schneider. “His leadership, MOS proficiency, [professional military education] accomplishments, recruiting success, and support for community events set the standard. Sgt. Capane always demonstrates a high level of esprit de corps and lives by the Marine Corps’ values of honor, courage and commitment.”
Capane volunteered for recruiting duty and was accepted on Dec. 12, 2011. He now works at Recruiting Station Pittsburgh, Recruiting Substation Tri-County, where he takes his job very seriously.
“As a recruiter, we are the first Marine that these people really have contact with,” he said. “We are the first Marine that they meet, so we have to be above that level; we have to be portrayed as the greatest.”
Going forward, Capane plans to continue his self development as a Marine, and hopes to help others along the way.
“I’m out looking for the young men and women who will help make the Marine Corps exactly what we know it is, and keep it that way… make it better,” he said.