Faces From the Front for July 5, 2010 - Sgt. 1st Class David Hale
Current Unit: 158th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion
Current Position: Senior Human Resource NCO
Component: Arizona National Guard
Current Location: Kandahar, Afghanistan
Hometown: Flagstaff, Ariz.
Years of Service: 31
When Sgt. 1st Class David Hale enlisted in the Army back in 1978, he was a young man just looking for his path in life. Now after more than 30 years of service, he reflects proudly on his family's legacy of military service and the contributions they have all made at very significant periods in our nation's history.
“My uncles served during the Korean War, and my great uncles served in World War I and World War II. I have traced my family lineage back to the Civil War, where one relative was an infantry officer and another was a cook,” Hale said. “It makes me proud to know that my ancestors fought to help others. Now, I hope the small part that I am doing will help the people of Afghanistan and make it easier for all of us.”
Serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan, as a senior human resource noncommissioned officer (NCO), Hale is responsible for taking care of his Soldiers' administrative needs so they are free to focus on their mission. Hale assists with processing all requests related to his Soldiers' economic compensation, promotions, leave time, and receipt of awards. Hale even ensures that his Soldiers receive their mail in a timely fashion.
He realizes that his work is important to his fellow Soldiers. By ensuring that their administrative needs are taken care of, Hale alleviates any worry or frustration his Soldiers might have to face dealing with these issues on their own.
“Being a human resource NCO gives me the opportunity to take care of Soldiers,” Hale said. “Whether it involves pay issues, processing awards, or processing the paperwork to get a Soldier promoted, I get to help Soldiers and it is gratifying.”
Hale knows that he has made a difference during his tour of duty and understands that his time in Afghanistan is one more experience that will contribute to his vast repertoire of Army knowledge.
“Looking back, it is interesting seeing how the Army has changed over the last three decades, and I have been able to be a part of those changes. I have had the opportunity to learn from and serve with Soldiers who served in WWII, the Korean War, Vietnam, the Gulf War and now Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom,” Hale said. “I enjoy serving my country and doing what I do, and hope that I can continue serving for many years to come.”
Ultimately, Hale realizes that the Army has made a great impact on his life and has helped him to find the meaning he hoped for so many years ago.
“I was always interested in serving in the Army and felt that it would provide me with a future that had meaning,” Hale explained. “When I was growing up, the group I hung around with was always looking for what was in it for them. The Army showed me that it's not about me, it's about what I do and how it affects others. I get great satisfaction doing things for others.”
Through mentorship, Hale has established a strong sense of purpose and pride in his work and works to instill the same Army values in his fellow Soldiers.
“I have been fortunate that I had mentors that guided me in the right direction. My first company commander was a starch and spit-shine type of leader. He and the first sergeant instilled that sense of pride that I carry with me today. They showed me that you are responsible for what you make of yourself and that you have a responsibility to pass that on to others. I have carried that with me throughout my military career and I strive to pass it on to the Soldiers I serve with now.”
Hale is slated to come home to Flagstaff late this year. He looks forward to spending time with his friends and his wife, Kathy Hale, who also served in the U.S. Army.
“I met my wife when we were both stationed at Camp Darby, Italy in 1980. We got married in 1984 and she continues to put up with me to this day!” Hale said. “My wife understands what it is like to be in the Army and understands Army life. She knows what drives me to serve my country and continue to do my job, which has made this deployment easier for me.”