One of Redstone Arsenal's top enlisted Soldiers was honored Oct. 27 with a leadership award presented by the Redstone-Huntsville Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army.

Sgt. 1st Class Lee Dalton, who serves as the first sergeant for the Aviation and Missile Command's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, received the 1st Sgt. John Ordway Leadership Award for the Army's active duty component at an awards breakfast hosted at The Summit by the local AUSA chapter. This is the 12th year the award has been presented.

"It's an honor to be recognized," Dalton said. "First sergeants, generally, don't get award recognition. They are usually the ones doing the recommendations for awards for the Soldiers in their unit. So it's nice to get recognition as the first sergeant of the company."

Besides Dalton, the AUSA chapter also presented Ordway leadership awards to the Reserve component's Master Sgt. Joshua Knott of the 13th Battalion Ordnance, 108th Regiment, 3rd Brigade Ordnance, 94th Division, Redstone Arsenal; and to the National Guard component's 1st Sgt. Roy Hamilton of B Company, 115th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Sheffield. They also received a recognition plaque from the Redstone Arsenal Sergeants Major Association.

The AUSA award "recognizes the Army tradition of taking care of Soldiers and their families. … The chapter is proud to recognize first sergeants from across the Tennessee Valley each year at this event," said retired Command Sgt. Maj. James Ross, AUSA's vice president of Soldier affairs who served as narrator at the awards breakfast.

The 1st Sgt. John Ordway Leadership Award was named after a regular Army Soldier who served as the first sergeant of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804-06. It was first presented in 2005 in recognition of the 200th anniversary of the expedition. Ordway has relatives in Huntsville, and was represented by Lisa Ordway, Sarah Hereford and Sibyl Wilkinson at the awards breakfast.

As the first sergeant for AMCOM HHC, Dalton leads efforts to oversee the administrative, medical and other human resources actions for about 700 Soldiers stationed at Redstone Arsenal. That oversight includes not only Soldiers assigned to AMCOM, but Soldiers assigned to 27 tenant organizations at Redstone, including the Army Materiel Command, Space and Missile Defense Command, Missile Defense Agency and Army Contracting Command.

"Lee is well-deserving of this award," Maj. Curt Schultheis, commander of AMCOM HHC, said. "He leads a company of 706 Soldiers from across the installation. I can't think of a better Soldier leader to be more deserving of this award."

Dalton was nominated by the Garrison's Command Sgt. Maj. Brad Bradshaw.

"He's a phenomenal leader," Bradshaw said of Dalton. "He's a hard worker and very dedicated in his efforts to take care of Soldiers at Redstone. He is an inspirational leader and I have a lot of respect for him. His unwavering love for the Army and for taking care of Soldiers and Soldier families is evident in everything he does."

That care of Soldiers and Soldier families is in direct support of Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley's readiness priority, said the event's guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Jerome Wiggins, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command.

"These are three outstanding first sergeants who have made a difference in the lives of Soldiers and in mission accomplishment and, most important, in taking care of families," Wiggins said of the awardees. "Each possess the desired traits, attributes and character associated with being a leader."

As the military leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, the 29-year-old Ordway set the standard for all Army first sergeants, a standard that still stands today, Wiggins said. Ordway was the administrator and disciplinarian for the 25 Soldiers who made the 18-month expedition northwest with Capt. Meriwether Lewis and 2nd Lt. William Clark. Ordway kept a journal documenting the historical expedition.

"In his capacity as a first sergeant, he was making sure his men were taken care of, providing rations and making sure the mission was accomplished. Because he was the only Soldier who could read and write, he would write home for his men. He represented the highest tradition of leadership," Wiggins said.

Today's first sergeants can look to Ordway for the footsteps they can follow in supporting their Soldiers and their Soldier's families, encouraging others to do the same and remaining dedicated to always doing the right thing, he said.

"First sergeant duties are endless," Wiggins said. "They are the backbone of most companies. A successful unit has a motivated, unwavering and exceptional first sergeant at the helm. … First sergeants' strength is in their love for their Soldiers and their weakness is wanting everyone to love the Army like they do."