By Thomas Brading, Army News ServiceJune 24, 2019
ARLINGTON, Va. -- Gen. Douglas MacArthur once said, "Old Soldiers never die" and nearly 70 years later his legacy lives on.
His legacy continues in today's Army with Soldiers like Capt. Troy Catterton, 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, who, among others, was recently awarded for embodying multiple qualities of the historic general.
TOMORROW'S LEADERS, TODAY
Catterton, along with 29 other company-grade and warrant officers, received General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Awards Friday, during a ceremony at the Pentagon.
The award recipients represented Soldiers from the regular Army, National Guard, and Army Reserve. The Soldiers were selected by their commands for demonstrating ideals MacArthur stood for, including duty, honor, and country.
More than 100,000 company grade officers were eligible for the award, said Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, director of the Army staff, who presided over the ceremony. He added officers had less than a .03% chance of being selected.
"It's humbling to be chosen alongside this group of officers," said Capt. Chad Plenge, West Point psychology professor and General Douglas MacArthur Leadership award winner.
As a faculty member at West Point, Plenge's connection to MacArthur is unique. MacArthur was once a cadet, then later a superintendent of the prestigious military academy. Plenge said he's proud to represent West Point at the ceremony.
"To be one of the people somebody thought deserved this award is an honor," Plenge added.
His feelings resonated with other officers at the event, including Capt. Eric Otte, Nebraska National Guard, who shared Plenge's modesty. Both Soldiers, like many others awarded, were humbled and honored by being distinguished among their peers.
Otte said he will strive to live up to what the award represents by leading from the front, the way MacArthur intended.
MACARTHUR'S TIMELESS LESSONS
MacArthur "led by example, where he was needed" Piatt said, adding that on the battlefield "where it was dangerous" MacArthur was first to arrive.
MacArthur, the former five-star General of the Army, was catapulted into fame for his service during World War II and Korea.
Today, many historians believe MacArthur is the portrait of a great military leader, and one of the most decorated Soldiers to ever wear an Army uniform.
His medals include two Purple Hearts, seven Silver-Stars, five Army Distinguished Service Medals, three Distinguished Service Crosses, and ---like his father, Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, Jr. -- the Medal of Honor.
Piatt spoke on the general's successes to remind the Soldiers of "the magnitude" of their accomplishment. Not only did they have a small chance of being chosen, he said, but their award reflects their skillful leadership, as well as MacArthur's storied legacy.
Piatt congratulated the 30 Soldiers for being recognized by their commands, adding "you didn't win a contest" by being chosen. He said they earned their award because they're good leaders and their leadership sees that in them.
As the general concluded his address, he reminded the winners of their unique challenges ahead. The challenges of an uncertain future, and the difficult decisions that will require their strong, courageous leadership in the face of danger.
"That's what General MacArthur did," he added.
But, unlike MacArthur, their challenges won't be lessons in history books, Piatt added, because the officers' futures are yet to be written.
To the award recipients, Piatt said, a responsibility is "on your shoulders," like MacArthur, to lead by example and "be first when it's dangerous."
The recipients of this year's General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Awards are:
-- Capt. Cody T. Anderson, Wisconsin ARNG
-- Capt. Rocco C. Boccuti, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Philip J. Bourn, Vermont ARNG
-- Capt. Brian T. Breeden, Ohio ARNG
-- Capt. Troy A. Catterton, USARC
-- Capt. Patrick R. Glazebrook, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Ryan E. Griffin, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Clara R. Gumm, Arizona ARNG
-- Capt. Andrew P. Hayden, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Brett A. Knutson, USARC
-- Capt. Joseph S. Laplante, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Andrew S. Lapante, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Andrew M. Mackenzie, FORSCOM
-- Capt. James S. McLaughlin, USARPAC
-- Capt. Joshua K. McMillion, FORSCOM
-- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Teneka R. Mercado, USARPAC
-- Capt. Albert B. Merkel, USARC
-- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andrew J. Metzinger, INSCOM
-- Capt. Samuel A. Mitchell, USARC
-- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Kevin M. Mulpas, USARC
-- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Brian J. Myers, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Richard M. Nezat, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Eric C. Otte, Nebraska ARNG
-- Capt. Anthony R. Padalino, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Chad D. Plenge, USMA
-- Chief Warrant Officer 2 Terrence C. Robinson, South Carolina ARNG
-- Capt. Stephen Scott, USARC
-- Capt. Ryon T. Skiles, Oregon ARNG
-- Capt. Quenten L. Vereen, FORSCOM
-- Capt. Kyle A. Volle, FORSCOM