CAMP JACKSON, South Korea -- Soldier starts his second career in the Army Sgt. Felix Mena, who is a native of Whittier, Calif., is far from the typical Soldier, joining the Army at the age of 40, after working an assortment of different jobs to include coaching professional tennis.
Describing himself as an "old man in a young man's game," Mena credits his late career into the Army to his father, an Army veteran from the Vietnam War, as well as his yearning for a physical and mental challenge.
Mena, who is currently serving as the Battery A training room noncommissioned officer, 1st Battalion, 38th Field Artillery, 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, has shown by his outstanding performance while attending the Warrior Leaders Course August through September at Camp Jackson that age is just a number.
His exemplary character and dedication to his fellow Soldiers earned him the Leadership Award at the Eighth Army Wightman Noncommissioned Officer Academy for the Class of 09-2013.
"I was looking to return to the values and work ethic that I had learned as a young man back when I was a professional tennis coach and player," said Mena. "It feels good to know that graduating from WLC and winning the Leadership Award are tangible results of my efforts."
Mena was also awarded a Certificate of Achievement and presented challenge coins by Maj. Gen. Thomas Vandal, commanding general of 2nd Infantry Division, Col. Michael Lawson, commander of 210th Fires Brigade, Lt. Col. Donald Potoczny, commander of 1st Bn., 38th FA Regt., Command Sgt. Maj. Andrew Spano, 2nd Inf. Div., Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Mahoney, United State Forces of Korea command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. David Morgan, the commandant of WLC and Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Brinton, 210th Fires Bde. Command sergeant major.
The command team came out to support the junior leader and recognize his warrior spirit.
"My pockets were definitely loaded full of coins!" said Mena. "It was really great to meet and shake hands with all those leaders. I did my best to represent the division and my unit. It really meant a lot to me."