Mississippi Guardsman embodies Army value of personal courage
February 11, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - A Mississippi Army National Guard Soldier received a Command Sergeant Major Certificate during a ceremony at Contingency Operating Location Q-West, Feb. 1.
Sgt. James C. Haycraft - the non-commissioned officer in charge of the Mayor Cell water operations off the post and combat medic from Brandon, Miss., serving with 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined Arms, 155th Brigade Combat Team, out of Senatobia, Miss. - was acknowledged for embodying the Army value of personal courage.
To honor outstanding service at the end of the deployment, the senior noncommissioned officers of the battalion recognized seven Soldiers from throughout the Battalion who embody one of the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, service, honor, integrity and personal courage, said Command Sgt. Maj. Perry Campbell.
"This is an NCO-driven effort to honor Soldiers who stood out during the deployment," said Campbell, a native of Senatobia, Miss. "The NCOs wanted to remind every Soldier in the Battalion that outstanding service is not always the result of a single act. It is the everyday practice of upholding the Army values."
1st Sgt. Carl Hunt, Mayor Cell NCOIC and native of Louisville, Miss., said Haycraft shows both physical and moral courage.
"Sergeant Haycraft has physical courage," said Hunt. "He's been on more than 50 missions off the base, patrolling the water pipeline or supervising work projects at the pump house on the Tigris River. I know of two incidents when he risked bodily harm from improvised explosive devices, but he never complained and kept going on those missions, even when he could have passed the responsibility off to fellow Soldiers. Beyond physical courage, sergeant Haycraft has strong moral convictions. I've never heard him say a bad word about anyone, and I've seen him walk away from gossiping Soldiers so as not to say anything bad about someone behind their back. That's an example of moral courage, to always do what's right, even if it makes people uncomfortable. Sergeant Haycraft is a Soldier young enlisted soldiers should mold themselves after."
Capt. John E. Satterfield, director of Public Works and native of Midway, Ga., shared Hunt's assessment.
"Sergeant Haycraft shows personnel courage by being the first to be ready to go on any mission," said Satterfield. "As a medic, he is always ready to assist anyone, anytime, or anyplace. As NCOIC for off-post missions, he faced personal harm on every mission to the pump house and along the pipeline, but he never complained or tried to get out of that duty. Stonewall Jackson once said, 'Never take counsel of your fears.' And sergeant Haycraft shows no fear, no matter what the mission or obstacle that needs to be faced and overcome. His refusal to quit in the face of danger and can-do attitude epitomize the Army Value of personnel courage."
Sgt. Eric S. Pettis - a native of Oxford, Miss., and the non-commissioned officer in charge of water mission-planning and container management - said he, too, would have chosen Haycraft as the Soldier who most epitomized personal courage.
"Sergeant Haycraft demonstrated personal courage when he volunteered for the off-the-base responsibilities for the water team," said Pettis. "He knew this would mean spending numerous days and nights at the Tigris River Pump House with the local nationals and just a small security element. He never complained or showed any fear. On one operation and maintenance mission, the convoy was stopped by an unexploded IED. Instead of ending the mission, sergeant Haycraft proceeded on to the Pump House and carried out his mission."
Haycraft was self-effacing about the honor.
"There are other Soldiers who I view as more deserving, as having a tremendous amount of personal courage," said Haycraft. "It makes me feel honored to that the command sergeant major chose me from all of those Soldiers. Really, though, I've just been doing my job. It's a great honor, though I think others throughout the battalion have surely done more than I to deserve the recognition."