By Julia LeDoux, Pentagram Staff WriterOctober 18, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - You might not want to call Lt. Col. John E. Orille, the new deputy commander of Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, John John, even though that is his name.
"The only ones who use it are family," Orille said with a broad smile during an interview at his office in Headquarters Bldg. 59 on the Fort Myer portion of the joint base Oct. 11.
Orille assumed his new duties in mid-September, shortly before the shootings at the Navy Yard and the Oct. 1 government shutdown. He replaced Lt. Col. Jennifer L. Blair, who retired in August following a 28-year career in the Corps.
"The reception has been phenomenal, a true testament to the professionalism and understanding of the staff here and also our partners at the base," he said.
"I was a Navy brat," continued the Jersey City, N.J., native. "My father was in the Navy. My brother was in the Navy. There is a strong tradition of naval service in my family. The question always was 'why is John John going into the Marine Corps?' I just had to be different, bottom line."
Orille was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Corps following his graduation from Norwich University, a military school in Vermont, in 1992. The artillery officer's first duty station was Fort Sill, Okla. It was there, he said, as a young Marine on an Army base, that he saw first-hand how important partnerships are between the various branches of the American armed forces.
"We are more the same than different," he explained. "You like to joke and poke fun at your brothers and sisters, but boy, you don't want to mess with them, because in the end we're one big family."
Orille's other duty stations were primarily along the West Coast, where he met and married his wife, Elizabeth, a Los Angeles, native. The couple have two children, Connor and Jack. In 2003, the lieutenant colonel deployed to Iraq with the 1st Marine Division.
"Since then, I've served three consecutive tours in Iraq and managed to still hold onto the wife," Orille said with a laugh.
Prior to being assigned to JBM-HH, Orille was stationed at Quantico Marine Corps Base.
"It just added 40 minutes to my commute," he noted of his change in duty station.
Orille said that on any given day on the joint base "you'll see every single service walking around the base, taking care of business and also receiving the services provided by the base."
Orille also pointed to the importance of the partnership that exists between uniformed service members and the civilians who work and provide services to them at JBM-HH.
"That is certainly a symbiotic relationship," he said. "We don't normally have the people to depend on to provide consistent and quality services expected for our service members."
He stressed that everyone who is eligible to receive the services provided by the base - from the most senior general officer to enlisted personnel just out of basic training to retirees and family members - deserve the very best.
"The joint base is interesting in that it serves DoD families from the cradle [with Cody Child Development Center] to the grave [Arlington National Cemetery]," said Orille.
Orille said that while the history of the installation is grounded in Fort Myer, the "Marine Corps provided its history and tradition at Henderson Hall. It was always there, separated by nothing more than a gate. Once you bring that gate down, there's certain efficiencies gained by how we operate on a daily basis."
Orille added that he is "thoroughly impressed" by the quality of the service members he has met since being assigned to the joint base.
"I'm happy to be aboard the installation, proud to serve in this capacity and I'm enthusiastic in doing my best in establishing the joint base as the premier provider of consistent quality services to our customers," he said.