KANDAHAR AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Soldiers from Train, Advise and Assist Command-South gathered, Sept. 30, to welcome Sgt. Daniel Fernandez, a Miami, Florida native, into the NCO Corps, here.
However, this promotion was one of a kind.
"It's very humbling to know that I was the only Soldier picked from all of TAAC-South for a battle field promotion," said Fernandez, a human resource sergeant assigned to the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. "I am happy and ready to take on the responsibilities that come with this promotion."
The battlefield promotion, regulated at the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan level, allowed a specific amount of promotions for each Train, Advise and Assist Command in Afghanistan.
Battlefield promotions, which became effective almost ten years ago, are deemed to Soldiers who display exceptional leadership, performance, and distinguished themselves from their peers. Unlike traditional promotions, battlefield promotions can wave requirements such as time in service, time-in-grade, promotion points, promotion board appearance and even NCO education system requirements.
"Being a noncommissioned officer means taking care of your Soldiers and broadening your knowledge as a leader so that younger Soldiers have someone to look up to," said Sgt. Daniel Fernandez.
Fernandez, who has served over two years in the Army and is currently on his first combat deployment, said it feels great to know that his leadership from all levels vouched for him to receive the promotion, but he couldn't have done it without the help of one specific leader.
"Staff Sgt. Levering put up with me since the beginning of the deployment from me wanting to appear in front of a board to going to the Basic Leaders Course," said Fernandez. "He continued to work with me even when I was impatient and getting frustrated."
On Sept. 30, when it was time to replace the specialist rank with the three NCO stripes, Fernandez said he could not think of anyone better to promote him then Staff Sgt. Marcus Levering.
"He has taught me how to be an NCO and has given me a role model to emulate, everything that I know is because of him," said Fernandez.
Levering, Fernandez's platoon sergeant, said it was a privilege to be able to promote Fernandez in front of everyone.
"It's rare to have a Soldier like Fernandez, so when I saw the potential and drive he had I wanted to be that leader that I never had and prepare him for a new chapter in his career," said Levering, a native of Clarksville, Tennessee. "He wasn't looking for a hand out; he was and still is hungry to grow as a Soldier and leader."
Levering said that as leader he feels proud to see one of his Soldiers reach his goal.
"I hope Fernandez never forgets where he came from and all the work he put into this promotion because it will help him in the future," said Levering. "Our junior Soldiers are the future of this Army as NCOs we need to make sure we prepare them to lead the future troops."
As Fernandez and the rest of the Soldiers of 2IBCT near the end of their deployment in Afghanistan, Fernandez said he is excited to go back to Fort Carson to develop other Soldiers and continue challenging himself.
"I would like to go to Airborne and Air Assault School and if possible be part of the Ranger Regiment," said Fernandez. "I have learned a lot about being a human resource specialist but I want to get a more tactical experience in the infantry world to be a well-rounded Soldier."