Year of the NCO: Distinguished Service Cross recipient outlines keys to success
October 15, 2009
WASHINGTON (Oct. 6, 2009) -- Leadership and the Army standards are key elements of success for individual Soldiers, a Distinguished Service Cross recipient said during a visit here last week.
"The standards that are given by the Army - whether it be our leadership values, our equipment we use or the training we employ - are so critical," said Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Nein of the Kentucky Army National Guard during a visit to the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting here.
"These aren't things that were just thought up [on the] spur of the moment; these are things that men have sweat blood for to develop so that we have better tactics, techniques and procedures than any other country," he said adding, "and because of that we're able to adapt on the battlefield more readily and quickly than any other force in the world."
At the invitation of U.S. Army Forces Command, Nein stopped by the Army's Sergeants Corner to brief an audience on the events of March 20, 2005, when he was a squad leader with Kentucky's 617th Military Police Company. The convoy he was riding in was ambushed near the town of Salman Pak, south of Baghdad, Iraq.
Under heavy fire, Nein and his squad put themselves and their vehicles between the insurgents and the convoy. Nein and Army National Guard Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester led a counterattack that saw 27 insurgents killed, seven captured and no deaths in their unit. Two Soldiers were wounded.
Nein was awarded a Silver Star Medal that was upgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross. Only the Medal of Honor trumps the DSC among awards for valor in battle. Nein was the first member of the Guard to receive the award since the Global War on Terrorism started in 2001. Hester also received the Silver Star, becoming the first woman to receive the award for direct combat action.
Nein, who returned from his third Iraq deployment and fourth overseas tour this decade in February, outlined three ingredients to Soldier success: The importance of the Army standards, learning from mentors and leading and mentoring other Soldiers.
The ambush that resulted in Nein's DSC reinforced these ingredients, he said.
"More than anything, it showed me ... how important the standards are that the Army teaches and how, by using those standards, we can be successful each and every day, either on the battlefield or just in the office," Nein said. "Knowing our job, knowing our equipment and knowing what we're supposed to do, leading Soldiers and mentoring Soldiers - how important that comes to play on the battlefield."
Those leadership skills are, in turn, learned from mentors, Nein said.
"I've had the absolute honor, being a lucky Soldier, to have some really great leaders," Nein said.
Those leaders gave Nein his foundation of understanding what the Army is about, what right looks like, the Army Values, the Warrior Ethos and the Soldier's Creed, Nein said - tools he passes along to others.
Nein is currently serving with the 198th Military Police Battalion as an operations NCO helping to prepare Soldiers for future deployments.