Sgt. 1st Class John Reinke, noncommissioned officer in charge of radiology at General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, had an unexpected opportunity come up for his promotion April 1. An important drill sergeant in his life 16 years ago during Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Okla., is also now stationed here and was available to assist with the ceremony: Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Command Sgt. Maj. Randolph Delapena.
Reinke, from Frankfort, Ind., said he recognized his former drill sergeant last June when he saw Delapena’s command photo.
“He is the epitome of a great NCO and leader,” Reinke said. “He will always be remembered during the rest of my military service.”
In 2005, Delapena was a newly promoted sergeant first class and a drill sergeant.
“I was then Pvt. Reinke’s drill sergeant,” Delapena remembered. “For me to be here today is an honor. I’m humbled to continue to serve everybody on Fort Leonard Wood.”
Reinke said he has learned serving as a noncommissioned officer is about the health and well-being of the team.
“I have learned many things as an NCO,” Reinke said. “Servant leadership and being an empathic leader helps define you as a leader and a mentor to many people, Soldiers and civilian staff alike.”
Delapena, who read the charge of the noncommissioned officer at the ceremony, said he received some great advice from a mentor – to use the rank for good. He explained senior noncommissioned officers have been in the service long enough to have built a network and resources to help people.
“You’re there to serve,” he said. “I serve everyone as your sergeant major. At the end of the day, we should be working together to make the installation better for our Soldiers and to maintain standards and discipline.”
A common lesson Delapena teaches here is you never know the impact you will have on the lives and careers of others.
“That’s what Fort Leonard Wood is,” Delapena said. “The ability to (affect) so much of what you’ll never know or see.”