Fort Bragg Soldier wins Gen. Douglas MacArthur leadership award
June 10, 2010
How do you measure the worth of a true leader'
The words or actions of his Soldiers, the admiration of his comrades or the respect of his superiors, all can attest to the real value of a leader.
One Soldier, whose peers, subordinates and seniors all regard as an outstanding leader is Capt. Kendall A. Robinson.
Robinson, the commander of the 118th Military Police Company, was one of a select few who won the 2009 Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership award.
"Captain Robinson is a good leader because he cares about every aspect of his responsibility as an officer and commander and he cares about his Soldiers," said Lt. Col. William R. Black, the battalion commander for 503rd Military Police Battalion.
The Gen. MacArthur award is designed to recognize company grade officers who show outstanding leadership while in command, so they can be examples to their fellow leaders as to what the Army expects from all leaders, said Black, a native of Moundsville, W. Va.
In order to be considered for the award, leaders must have demonstrated the three ideals MacArthur considered the foundation of good leadership - duty, honor and country.
"Captain Robinson illustrates duty by taking the task appointed to him and seeing that it's done to the highest standard," said Spc. James Bethea, a military policeman under Robinson's command.
Aside from doing what is required, Robinson believes duty is about going above and beyond expectations.
"To me, duty is performing what you're supposed to do whether you're told to do it or not," Robinson said. "You take those unspecified tasks and do them to the best of your ability when given the opportunity."
One instance where Robinson demonstrated his commitment to duty was when one of his Soldiers was getting ready for the Warrior Leadership Course.
"When I was getting ready for WLC, Captain Robinson helped prepare me when it wasn't his responsibility," said Spc. Jarred Malcolm. "I was so ready that I was able to make commandant's list."
In addition to helping Malcolm get ready for WLC, Robinson again showcased his drive to exceed expectations during their recent deployment to Afghanistan.
"I joined the deployment late," explained Malcolm, a native of Pittsburgh. "Captain Robinson mentored me so I wasn't behind everyone else. I was able to execute my duties the first day I got there just like I had been there the entire time."
It is inevitable during war that some will make the ultimate sacrifice. It's when tragedy strikes that Soldiers need to know their fallen comrades are honored.
"After we lost the people down range, the words Captain Robinson said during their memorial really helped by honoring them and their memories," said Pfc. Bryan Allen, a line medic under Robinson's command.
"Robinson's compassion and support meant a lot to us," said Spc. Trina Bruno, a military policeman under Robinson's command. "Knowing that he really cared, helped us get through the loss of our battle buddies."
For Robinson, rather than claiming the award for himself, he chose to honor those Soldiers he lost with it.
"We lost three Soldiers over there, that's what the General MacArthur award is about," Robinson said. "At no time did the Soldiers ever give up; they honored those fallen by rallying up and fostering an even stronger bond."
During the deployment, a lot of the Soldiers in the 118th MP Co. felt honored just to be under Robinson's command.
"Captain Robinson leads from the front," said Bethea, a Washington, D.C. native. "There were a few times he came out on missions with us, where he made it a priority to dismount and clean and just do the same things we were doing."
"You might see some Soldiers turn their heads down at their commanders, but not us. We are all like 'hey that's my commander; that really squared away one,'" said Allen, a native of Los Angeles.
"You can always see how Captain Robinson is really proud to be fighting for his country; he would always make us feel really proud to be fighting for all the people back home," said Bruno, a native of Baker City, Ore.
The deployment, especially to Robinson, was all about what country represents to him.
"For us, the last 12 months down range, country was our biggest focus," Robinson said. "You have to look at the big picture. It's about the sacrifices made over there in hopes our country improves our standing. That we inspire people back here to not take those liberties we are over there fighting for, for granted."
However, sometimes during deployments, days grow long and morale can decrease creating a challenge for any commander.
"It gets rough over there; you feel like you're down in the dirt when you've been out for over three days and you start to hate what you're doing," Bruno said. "Then Captain Robinson would come around and make us all feel like we are doing something great, that what we're doing is making a difference in everyone else's lives."
It was moments like that, that inspired Robinson's leadership to nominate him for the award.
"General MacArthur talked about duty, honor and country," Robinson said. "I think a leader can shape and mold certain things but the heart, soul, mind and dedication of your Soldiers are what make your ideals come to life."