FORT KNOX, Ky. - She was surprised that no nomination packets were sent to the G1. She reviews these award nominations every year before sending them to the commanding general for selection. However, it wasn’t because no one was being recommended; she was the 1st Theater Sustainment Command’s nominee!
Capt. Celina Baldwin, G1 essential personnel services officer in charge, 1st TSC, was nominated by the 1st TSC for the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.
“I am humbled and honored to be recognized with such a prestigious award,” she said.
The award recognizes company grade officers who demonstrate the ideals for which Gen. MacArthur stood - duty, honor, and country. It also promotes and sustains effective junior officer leadership in the Army.
“I’ve lived with the phrase, ‘Duty, honor, country’ since 2008 when I first arrived at the U.S. Military Academy West Point,” Baldwin said. “There is a quote by Gen. MacArthur that we are required to memorize as a part of our initial basic training knowledge.”
“Duty, honor, country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, and what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn.” – MacArthur said in his farewell speech at West Point.
“To me, duty is the responsibility you have to show up and complete the mission,” Baldwin said. “Honor is completing the mission the right way and by doing the right thing, always, no matter the cost. Country is the motivation and passion behind serving. The people we love at home are the reason we serve,” Baldwin emphasized.
It’s not surprising that Baldwin was nominated for this award. Hard work, commitment and teamwork are characteristics Baldwin exhibited from a young age. Born and raised in Tampa, Florida, she danced professionally in a ballet company from the time she was three until she was 18. She also ran track and cross country in high school.
She didn’t grow up in a military family, but she always felt the desire to serve. She enjoyed watching Army movies as a young girl and thought about how she could best serve her country. That’s what led her to apply to USMA.
The 2013 West Point Academy graduate humbly said that she isn’t the only one deserving of recognition. She has a great team of Soldiers in the G1.
“This isn’t about just me,” she said. She believes that it is literally about the people you serve, and those are the Soldiers that she leads. She believes that she wouldn’t have been nominated, or even be successful, without setting the environment for Soldiers to succeed.
“Serve your Soldiers the right way, because they are the ones working hard,” Baldwin emphasized. “It is the Soldiers in G1 who drive and push through every administrative action.”
She also recognizes the Soldiers and leaders she served with throughout her career who helped shape her, especially at her last duty assignment where she served as the battalion S1, 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. That assignment had a significant impact on her development as a leader.
“My team deserves credit,” she added. “They are passionate about their jobs, and they work hard every day.”
Baldwin, a dual-military spouse and a step mother to two children, has clearly demonstrated her leadership and potential throughout her career and it’s not just the 1st TSC leadership that has noticed. She was selected meritoriously ‘below zone’ by the Army for promotion to major this year, which means she will be promoted well ahead of her peers and before officers on the list who have seniority based off of time in grade and time in service.
“There are an abundance of tools that you need to be a great leader,” Baldwin shared. “Use the tools that best fit who you are as a leader.”
The former West Point cheerleader may soon be joining her roommates who were also recognized with prestigious leadership awards. Her roommate, Emily Bye, USMA 2014 graduate, received the MacArthur Leadership Award in 2019. Another roommate, Kiley Hunkler, USMA class of 2013, was a Rhodes Scholar.
Baldwin said she has seen women’s leadership in the Army evolve during her time in service. She is encouraged by the increasing number of female leaders across the Army and believes that it is necessary for women to empower other women for more and continued representation in the ranks.
“One way that we can support and encourage each other moving up in the ranks is to empower other women Soldiers,” she said. “We do this by instilling Army values.”
U.S. Army Central selected Baldwin for consideration of the MacArthur Leadership Award at the Department of the Army’s level. She now competes for the Army-wide award among other active duty officers as well as Army Reserve and National Guard officers.
Baldwin’s advice to new leaders is simple, “Stay true to yourself and do what you know is right.”