By 1st Lt. Jermaine BranchMay 7, 2018
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The United States Army Transportation Corps' missions include providing the movement of personnel and materiel by truck, rail, air and sea, with the full spectrum of transportation capabilities at the tactical, operational, and strategic level of war.
This is no easy task in the Pacific region, which encompasses more than 52 percent of the earth's surface, with 36 countries and more than 16 time zones. Mastering such transportation challenges, and his dedicated leadership abilities, are the reason 1st Lt. Eugene T. Molisso was named the Transportation Corps Army Officer of the Year.
Molisso was presented the award by the Army Chief of Transportation, Brig. Gen Jeffrey W. Drushal during a ceremony on May 1 at Fort Lee, Virginia.
Currently serving as the executive officer for the 84th Engineer Battalion's Forward Support Company, Molisso joined the Army after graduating from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania in 2015. Growing up in the Blairstown, New Jersey, Molisso attended North Warren Regional High School.
"In high school I was a shy kid, who was smart enough to get good grades procrastinating, and athletic enough to be the captain of the football team," he said.
At an early age he wanted to pursue a career in law enforcement either on the local or federal level.
"I didn't really have a specific job in mind but I just wanted to make a difference, because my dad was a local police officer when I grew up and he was a role model for me," he said.
"I learned the value of earning things that I wanted through hard work," Molisso said. "I was never handed anything but I always got what I needed."
"The idea of getting a college education and having a job that would hone my leadership skills would really develop me as a person and a leader to help me further down the road," he continued. "I also love the idea of public service."
Professional motivation may have stemmed from his father, but he credits his mother with providing the positive foundation for his leadership style.
"I think I am most like my mom; she had a very strict hand when I was growing up and I still have that today. As a leader I expect a lot from people. But she was still caring which I feel that am and compassionate; I care about my Soldiers and the mission. And I think that I share my mom's dry sense of humor as well," said Molisso.
His desire to make a difference contributed to the success of the missions he has supported with the 84th Engineer Battalion, 130th Engineer Brigade, and the units they support across the Pacific. As a platoon leader for 24 Soldiers, his team distributed thousands of rounds of ammo, gallons of fuel, gallons of water and tons of equipment all over Hawaii.
Becoming a Transportation Officer was not exactly at the top of his list before joining the Army. Molisso initially wanted to become a Military Intelligence Officer.
"At the time, I thought Military Intelligence would expose me to a higher strategic level," he said.
The Army's top transporter feels differently now due to the assignments and experiences he's had as a transportation officer.
"My favorite duty assignment by far was being a platoon leader for the Distribution Platoon of the 84th FSC," Molisso said. "Being able to lead that small team of great Soldiers; being a lieutenant in the Army is the best job out there".
Being named the Transportation Corps' Army Officer of the Year is a testament to Molisso's talents, dedication to duty, as well as his professionalism.
As an Army transporter, missions may require you to work with many different organizations to ensure the successful movement of the right resources, to the right place, at the right time. Networking and making connections with people is a critical element.
"Coming from a small town allowed me to make connections that stay through-out your life," he said.
The ability to support different brigades on the island with as few as 18 Soldiers distributing ammunition, providing other logistical needs on a daily basis, and still being able to manage and accomplish required training objectives is nothing short of remarkable.
"All of my moments where I felt extreme pride were moments where my small platoon would come together and accomplish a big mission or task," said Molisso.
One such mission was in February when his company responded on a one-day notice, to support the Federal Emergency Management Agency's efforts to coordinate assistance after Tropical Storm Gita ravaged parts of the region to include American Samoa.
The ability to quickly react to any situation, most importantly natural disasters and humanitarian assistance, is a critical part of transportation.
"If I had not joined the Army, I would probably be working for a state or federal agency with a public service aspect to it," he said. "At the end of the day, there are more rewards to serving than there are not to serve."
Despite his recent recognition, Molisso humbly said his biggest achievement to- date would be having a positive influence on his Soldiers and NCO's as a platoon leader.
Molisso thought his company commander may have been joking with him when he was told that he was selected for the prestigious honor, but knowing the truth, now he knows it's more about the Soldiers and leader's he has learned from along the way.
"It is a great honor to be the Transportation Corps Officer of the year. It's definitely and an award that I've wanted," said Molisso. "I see it more as the accomplishments of my Soldiers that I have served with."
After completing his time as an executive officer, Molisso is set to transition to a battalion staff position after which he will attend the Captains Career Course.