JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –SSG Austin Teal turned the Armed Forces Golf Championships Sept. 11-14 at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, into a family affair.
Teal, a radiology specialist with the 30th Medical Brigade at Rheinland-Pfalz, Kaiserslautern, Germany, helped the U.S. Army win the men’s championship by beating Navy by 25 strokes. Teal tied for 10th with a 15-over 303 in the four-round invitational. SGT Steve Lim of U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii was the overall champion with an 11-under 277.
“Having my wife, Marcie, infant daughter, Palmer. and my parents there was so special!” Teal said.
“My entire family was welcomed and made a part of the team from the moment we touched the ground. My wife (a former college golfer) caddied, and there were multiple times we looked at each other during the rounds and said, ‘How cool is it we are doing this together for the Army?’ My family attended both banquets, and Garrison Commander COL Joseph Messina and his wife even sat at our table for dinner.
“We met so many wonderful people and shared so many stories and testimonies of what the Army or military has given us. To say the experience was priceless is an understatement.”
Serving in the Army has given Teal a sense of purpose. Teal graduated in 2007 with a degree in business management from Chowan University in North Carolina, where he was captain of the golf team. Teal worked as a professional golf instructor and Director of Golf Operations at Riverfront Golf Club in Suffolk, Virginia, but he felt something was missing in his life. In 2014, he enlisted in the U.S. Army.
“I felt I needed to fulfill a higher purpose, and I wanted to be challenged every day,” Teal said.
A round of golf with two command sergeant majors convinced him to try out for the All-Army Golf Team. He submitted his application and was selected to attend the trial camp, where he made the team.
“Golf gives me balance and perspective,” Teal said. “There are going to be good days and bad days, just like there are going to be good shots and bad shots. The common denominator is the next shot I’m about to play. Keeping that in mind, I aim to be consistently better than I was yesterday in my work life.”
It’s Teal’s desire to improve that impresses CSM Major Gary Petty and COL Werner Barden of the 519th Hospital Center, 30th MED BDE the most.
“SSG Teal is a phenomenal Soldier, athlete, husband and father,” Barden and Perry said. “He is the finest example of our nation’s best, accepting the call to serve while excelling at every opportunity provided by our Army.
“It is an honor to serve with SSG Teal and witness an up and coming senior leader demonstrate his talents beyond his military occupational specialty, making our Army proud. The 519th Hospital Center Team is extremely proud of him!”