FORT SILL, Okla. -- A self-described “city-boy” tells a group of Basic Combat trainees he did not qualify his weapon on the first go-round.

Army leader grows from city roots
Capt. Steven Paez calls out orders from the tower of a rifle marksmanship range on Fort Sill, Okla. He said shaping Soldiers as the commander of D Battery, 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery has been the best job of his life. (Photo Credit: Marie Pihulic) VIEW ORIGINAL

As a leader this may be hard to admit, but Capt. Steven Paez followed the statement saying he can now confidently shoot the rifle without hesitation.

Eleven years removed from Bayonne, N.J., Paez said not only has the Army changed his location, but it has also changed his preferences. He went from bustling city life, to enjoying the wide expanse a location like Fort Sill offers.

“It fits me,” said Paez.

As far as why he joined the Army, he said he wanted something different.

“It took me from a place where I couldn’t do much back at home. I’d be doing the same thing as everyone else. Now I’m in front of Soldiers and leading troops.”

He said he wanted to do great things for this nation and although he had known veterans in his hometown, service members were not commonplace.

His favorite part of being a Soldier is leading. He is the battery commander for D Battery, 1st Battalion, 19th Field Artillery. His job is to ensure proper training is happening to mold the next group of U.S. Army Soldiers.

“It’s the best job I’ve ever had. On a daily basis I have a direct impact on people’s lives.”

Paez said besides the growth he sees in his Soldiers; he has been able to grow in the Army as well.

His leaders have fostered his journey for more education and he now has a master’s degree in management and leadership.

“The best part of getting my degree in the Army is I didn’t have to pay for it,” he said.

He spoke of his service during a time when the Army is looking to hire 10,000 new Soldiers. Some of which, Paez may help transform.

For the next person who decides to join the Army, Paez only had one piece of advice, “Go field artillery.”