By Staff Sgt. David OversonMarch 14, 2018
HOHENFELS, Germany (March 14, 2018) -- Spc. Mcneil Edmonds may seem like any other Soldier in today's Army, but he's on a path towards becoming a commissioned officer. Edmonds was hand-picked by Brig. Gen. Tony Aguto, commander of the 7th Army Training Command, for the Army's Green to Gold Active Duty Option Program.
According to goarmy.com, the Army ROTC Green to Gold Division Commander's Hip Pocket Scholarship Program provides selected Soldiers the opportunity to complete their baccalaureate degree requirements and obtain a commission through participation in the ROTC Scholarship program. Each year, division commanders may nominate deserving Soldiers for two, three, and four-year Green to Gold scholarships.
"This 'Green to Gold' opportunity has opened the door for me to further do what I joined to do," said Edmonds. "I will be pursuing the chaplaincy branch to further serve the Army and give back to the greatest country on earth, while extending the encouragement, hope, and the love of Christ to fellow Soldiers."
Edmonds is an infantryman, but is currently assigned to the Joint Multinational Readiness Center's protocol section and serves as a driver for the command team.
In his current role, Edmonds has the privilege of meeting many senior leaders, and on one occasion during a rotational exercise, he was driving Aguto into the training area, and despite the loud roar of the Humvee's engine, Aguto proposed the idea of going "Green to Gold."
"I was skeptical, but he told me that he would consider nominating me if I chose to do so," added Edmonds. "A couple weeks later, I received a knock on our office door from a representative of 7th ATC. He was there to check on the status of the Green to Gold packet and report back to Brig. Gen. Aguto.
"I then realized how serious Brig. Gen. Aguto was, he had hand-selected me for his hip pocket scholarship. After some time, many conversations and much prayer, my wife, Amy, and I decided to take this opportunity."
It's not just the commander of 7th ATC who recognizes Edmonds' potential, but JMRC's commander, Col. Curtis Buzzard, has high praise for him as well.
"I have known Spc. Edmonds for almost 18 months while serving as the commander of the Operations Group at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center," said Buzzard. "As a former battalion and brigade combat team commander, I've had the privilege of recommending Soldiers for these types of scholarships, and Spc. Edmonds is one of the best candidates by far.
"During the past year that he has served as a command driver, he has demonstrated nothing less than exceptional performance at every task given to him," he said. "He is smart, full of initiative, anticipatory and a problem solver, and he has demonstrated excellent character and superior presence. His motivation to excel made a tremendous impact on myself and Brig. Gen. Aguto. Spc. Edmonds' potential is unlimited, and I am certain he will make a great officer."
Originally from Greenville, S.C., 21-year-old Edmonds, his wife and their two dogs, in a sense will be going home again, to Conway, S.C., where he'll finish his degree at Coastal Carolina University.
Edmonds' Christian faith played a large factor in motivating him to join the Army right out of high school.
"I wanted to be able to provide and extend the encouragement, hope, and the love of Christ to those in an environment such as the Infantry," said Edmonds. "Also, I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself. I wanted to serve the United States, and give back a portion of what the U.S. has provided for generations."
Though serving may be Edmonds' biggest calling in the Army, he is loving everything about it and added that the Army has allowed the couple to travel more than they imagined.
"My current job has afforded me the opportunity to meet and talk with many senior military and civilian leaders from the U.S. and other NATO countries," said Edmonds. "This has been an awesome experience and one that has set me up to be accepted in the Green to Gold program, and I can't wait for the next chapter to begin."