SAN ANTONIO (May 8, 2018) -- When 1st Lt. Apphia Kim helped promote Sgt. 1st Class Shaun Phillips to his current rank, he was on top of the world.
Some of it had to do with the ceremony being held 750 feet above the city, but mostly it was because for the second time in a week Kim helped Phillips mark an important career milestone.
Kim officiated Phillips' reenlistment on April 24, and promoted him to sergeant first class during a May 1 ceremony held at the top of the Tower of Americas.
"This was definitely a great pleasure having her here and to be able to make the trip out here twice and be a part of this part of my career. I appreciate that," said Phillips, a health care recruiter with 5th Medical Recruiting Battalion's San Antonio Medical Recruiting Station.
Kim's participation in these key moments was in keeping with a venerated Army tradition where a Soldier repays the time and care a mentor invested in them.
"It's such an honor," said Kim, currently assigned to the 720th Military Police Battalion at Fort Hood. "I know making promotion to sergeant first class there have been so many people to help him through, but the fact that he asked me, there's no greater honor than giving a little bit back to the NCO Corps."
The professional relationship between Phillips and Kim dates back to a 2014 assignment in Korea. It was then, that the experienced non-commissioned officer and the West Point graduate, on her first assignment, formed a tight team as platoon sergeant and platoon leader.
"Lieutenant Kim is probably one of the most inspiring officers I've had the pleasure of working with," said Phillips, an 11-year veteran combat medic. "She definitely has a passion for Soldiers and, as an NCO, something I truly respect out of her is she is willing to listen to the opinions or information that NCOs have."
In addition to being a new platoon leader at the time, Kim also filled in as company executive officer. She said she quickly came to value Phillips' leadership and advice as a platoon sergeant, because she saw how his positive impact extended beyond the platoon.
"He was outstanding," she said. "Whenever we had a problem, whenever we had obstacles, whenever we had training, we always looked to Phillips first. I was automatically very drawn to his leadership style and wanted to learn from him. He mentored not only me, but the other four lieutenants in our company and our company commander."
At the same time, Phillips' said his appreciation of Kim's leadership grew because of her willingness to accept input and how quickly she put all of the information into action in a way that was all her own. He sees nothing but great things in her future.
"The Army is going to benefit greatly if she decides to stay in any further," said Phillips.
For Kim, Phillips has set a high bar by which she now measures other NCOs. When asked his thoughts about being considered a standard bearer, he put it plainly, saying, "It's a high standard to live up to, but I definitely appreciate and respect being in that position. I really respect her and her opinion."
Their example of mutual respect carries on the legacy and effectiveness of the Officer-NCO relationship.