Mainz-Kastel NCO Earns DoD Honors
March 5, 2008
WIESBADEN, Germany - Talk about leaving the service on a high note.
Before Sgt. 1st Class Albert W. Sutton retires from the Army next month, he has to swing by the Pentagon to pick up his Department of Defense Senior Enlisted Service Member of the Year award.
Sutton is the noncommissioned officer in charge of the receiving and warehouse area at Mainz-Kastel's Defense Reutilization and Marketing Office (DRMO). He received the honor after being nominated by Kevin Buhlman, area manager of DRMO Mainz-Kastel, and competing at a DoD board against nine other nominees from across the forces.
"I was really surprised to win," said Sutton, praising the support of his coworkers, supervisors and Family for helping him excel. "My performance is a reflection of what they taught me."
Citing the hands-on support of warfighters provided by Sutton in Iraq during a six-month deployment and duty in such places as Bosnia, Kosovo and Romania, Buhlman said, "He's an outstanding individual and has been a real asset here. He's also a personable and friendly guy."
Buhlman also praised Sutton's contributions toward successfully meeting timelines in processing items and equipment from U.S. Army units and garrisons drawing down as a result of ongoing transformation in U.S. Army Europe.
Notified about the board on Jan. 23, Sutton had two days to prepare and make his way to the nation's capital for the face-to-face questioning by officers and a senior NCOs representing all four services.
"It was a little stressful, a little nerve-wracking. They gave me four subjects to cover," said Sutton, explaining that catching up on current events and military regulations was a vital part of his preparations for the board. "I called up friends - fellow NCOs - to find out what's hot and what's not. I saved my notes and then read them on the plane."
Sutton's advice for fellow Soldiers facing similar military boards was, "Make sure you know your basic military knowledge. Try to maintain your military bearing."
Leadership was the most significant segment of the board, he said, explaining, "It's such a broad area. There are so many leadership styles and ways that people define it."
Sutton's immediate supervisor, Jeff Leknes, chief of logistics at the DRMO Mainz-Kastel, said of Sutton, "I've been in this job for six months and was in the Air Force for 27 years. In any service - he's one of the best - among the top."
A recipient of the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his services in Iraq, a volunteer coach for Wiesbaden community youth sports and a Bronze Star awardee, Sutton now looks forward to some decompression time after more than two decades of service to the nation. "It'll be almost 22 years when I'm done - time to move on to the next chapter."
Future plans include finishing up his academic requirements in Grantham University's Business Administration Program, "relaxing and enjoying my Family for a little bit," he said.
The father of three daughters and a son, Sutton said he will remain in Europe after leaving the service and will most likely pursue a career in some aspect of logistics.