NCOs receive recognition for excellence

Tags: HB News

CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq – There’s always time to seek self improvement and Task Force Marne leadership validated that statement by flying  Soldiers to Tikrit, Iraq, and recognizing them for taking extra measures to mentor, lead and purse professional growth.

Eighteen noncommissioned officers received the Maj. Gen. Aubrey “Red” Newman Award, and one NCO was inducted into the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, July 22, Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Tikrit, Iraq.  Originally, six Soldiers were scheduled to be inducted into the prestigious NCO club, and 22 were to receive the leadership award, but due to bad weather and redeployments not everyone was able to attend.

The Task Force Marne Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews, was in attendance and congratulated the troops on their success and hard work.

“Because of our noncommissioned officer corps, we’re still able to continue to do things we need to do to grow our future leaders,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews. “We don’t have anything to worry about. We just proved that today with these 19 Soldiers.”

The awardees were each summoned upon the stage in front of their peers and leaders to receive their medallions and certificates. The Task Force Marne Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo and Command Sgt. Maj. Andrews presented the awards to the Soldiers.

“It feels great, but it’s also hard to believe,” said Sgt. Sandra  Ospina, a military police officer with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2-3 Brigade Troops Battalion, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division. “I went through a lot to get here; I studied days and nights and to me, it’s an honor.”

Sergeant Ospina earned a place in the prestigious Sgt. Audie Murphy club, by exemplifying true American spirit through leadership and knowledge.

Sergeant Audie Leon Murphy is one of America’s most recognized and decorated Soldiers. He was also a strong advocate for helping war veterans deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, after dealing with his own bouts with the condition.

Sergeant Ospina’s motivation to become a member of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club spurred her to spend many days and nights studying doctrines and regulations. Her drive and leadership skills stems from her admiration of her platoon sergeant and first sergeant’s leadership tactics.

“My platoon sergeant and my first sergeant are in the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, and I see them as the great leaders they are,” she continued. “They coached me, and mentored me, they helped me to get here.”

Although Sgt. Ospina, an Elizabeth, N.J., native, has joined the ranks of other dedicated, worthy and committed NCOs in the SAMC, she won’t let the status alter her humble attitude. In fact, Sgt. Ospina looks forward to improving her skills as a leader.

“By being in the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, it will improve my leadership style,” she said.  “If I do change, I will change for the better. But, everyone has room for improvement, so I’ll just keep improving. I just think of the way I would want someone to treat me, so that’s how I’ll take care of my Soldiers.”

Constantly improving leadership skills and passing knowledge onto Soldiers is also a theme for Sgt. Jason Calloway, a truck driver with Golf Company, 1st Battalion, 41st Field Artillery, 1st Advise and Assist Brigade, 3rd ID. and St. Louis, Mo., native. Sergeant Calloway earned the Maj. Gen. Aubrey “Red” Newman award for his commitment to mentoring, coaching and counseling his Soldiers, and was one of the 18 to receive the award.

Major General Newman was an ROTC cadet that primarily served in infantry units, and commanded three different units in between both world wars. He later served on the Army staff and was a part of the very first Army War College class.

“I’m glad that I got recognized for it,” he said.  “But I’m going to continue to try to push my knowledge onto my Soldiers so that maybe one day, they can be put in for this award too.”

Sergeant Calloway hopes that his success in earning this award motivates his Soldiers to surpass the Army standards and do the best they can.

“I want them to be proficient at everything, not just what they think matters,” he said. “If I see any Soldier that needs help, I will help them.”

Before the ceremony could come to a close, one Soldier was made an honorary member of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club, for his constant support and recognition of the noncommissioned officer corps. Major General Cucolo received a medal and certificate, and also received an award on behalf of the inductees.

NCOs receive recognition for excellence

Photos and Article by Spc. Cassandra Monroe

135th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, 3rd Infantry Division Public Affa