By Caroline Keyser, The BayonetJuly 30, 2009
FORT BENNING, GA - Four of Fort Benning's finest have been recognized for their service this quarter.
Following a series of boards July 16, SSG Timothy Acosta was named NCO of the Quarter, SPC Shane Haffey was named Soldier of the Quarter, and SSG April Dean and SSG James Spangler were selected to the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club, which recognizes outstanding NCOs.
Acosta, who maintains Bradley fighting vehicles with the 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, said he wanted to go to the NCO of the Quarter board to inspire his Soldiers and fellow NCOs.
"If I can do it, they can do it, and hopefully I'll get some guys going to the board next month," Acosta said.
To prepare, Acosta said he spent a lot of time studying and credits support from his chain of command with helping him succeed.
With seven years of service already under his belt, Acosta said he plans to serve at least 20 years in the Army, and would like to retire as a sergeant major. In the short term, he said he would like to use his time at Fort Benning to attend college and aims to complete at least an associate degree.
"I'm just starting off small and am working my way up," he said. "You can't just sit back, you've got to work to be the best."
Haffey, an Infantryman with 1st Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment, has appeared before five boards in the past four months. In April, he was named his battalion's Soldier of the Month, in May he went to a promotion board, and in June he was named Soldier of the Quarter for his battalion and brigade. Haffey passed all five boards and will be promoted to sergeant in August.
Appearing before so many boards in a short time helped prepare him for the post Soldier of the Quarter board, Haffey said.
"I was more confident, and I brushed up on little mistakes I made," he said. "The more times you go, the easier it gets and the more confident you get. I took advice from the after action reviews. If you don't listen to their recommendations and try to improve yourself, you're not going to get any better. Being able to listen to feedback is important not just as a Soldier, but in anything you do in life."
Before coming to Fort Benning in October, Haffey served with the 2nd Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, at Fort Bliss, Texas, and deployed to Iraq. He said he strives to set a positive example for his children, 2-year-old Maddyson and 9-month-old Skyler, and as an NCO will work to pass on a disciplined work ethic to his Soldiers.
"I'm excited about becoming an NCO," he said. "When I came into the Army as a private, I looked up to my NCOs, and now that it's my turn to become one, I want to give (my Soldiers) some of the discipline and training they gave me."
Haffey's future goals include attending Ranger School and appearing before the NCO of the Quarter board. He plans to serve 20 years in the Army.
Spangler and Dean, who will be inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club in a ceremony today, both said they wanted to set an example for their Soldiers by applying for membership in the club.
Spangler, a drill sergeant with D Company, 3rd Battalion, 47th Infantry Regiment, credited fellow NCOs in his battalion with helping him prepare for the board.
"I attended a study group at my battalion for people preparing for boards for about a month beforehand, and it really helped out a lot with my confidence level," he said. "Some of the other NCOs in the unit who are already Audie Murphy members provided good leadership examples for me to follow."
Spangler said he follows the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club motto and leads his Soldiers from the front.
"I wouldn't ask them to do anything I wouldn't be willing to do or show them how to do," he said.
Spangler said he plans to become a leader of the study group he attended.
"Some of the guys who helped me out are leaving now, so I want to keep the cycle going of helping out Soldiers," he said.
Dean, a human resources sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, said she spent a lot of time examining her strengths and weaknesses before going to the board.
"I did a self-evaluation," she said. "I did a double check on my military bearing, my competence and how I deal with my Soldiers. I made sure I worked on bettering myself and (improving) any weaknesses before I said, 'Yes I can do it.'"
Dean has worked in human resources her entire nine-year Army career, and said loves her job because it allows her to help her Soldiers and their families.
"My Soldiers should be able to take my place, so I always encourage them to continue their civilian and military education, and to work on things like their military bearing," Dean said.
Dean said she plans to spend 30 years in the Army and continue working in human resources.
Post names top Soldiers, honors NCOs