NATICK, Mass. – Staff Sgt. Sean M. Reyes is the winner of the prestigious Larry Strickland Leadership Award and Scholarship. Reyes serves at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, or USARIEM, and previously served at the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center, or DEVCOM SC. DEVCOM SC and USARIEM are frequent research partners. Both organizations are located at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Systems Center.
The Larry Strickland Leadership Award and Scholarship commemorate the service of Sergeant Major Larry Strickland. Strickland, who served in the Army for 30 years, was the Sergeant Major to the Army’s Deputy Chief of Staff when he became a victim of the terrorist attack on the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
According to the award’s website, this leadership award is given annually to a noncommissioned officer that “best exemplifies the Army’s vision and influences others in shaping future leaders while practicing excellent stewardship of the nation’s most precious resource — our Soldiers.”
Sergeant Major of the Army Michael R. Weimer presented the award to Reyes at the Sergeant Major of the Army Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier Forum at Association of the United States Army’s, or AUSA’s, Annual Meeting.
Reyes felt extremely honored to receive the award.
“I’m astonished and it’s been tough to grasp that I was chosen to receive this prestigious award,” said Reyes. “I’m extremely honored to be a recipient especially considering only a few Staff Sergeants have ever received the award.”
Lt. Col. Geoffrey Chin, MD, is the deputy of the Thermal and Mountain Medicine Division at USARIEM. Chin nominated Reyes for the award.
“Despite Staff Sgt. Reyes going through many challenges, he dedicates so much of his time and effort in taking care of his Soldiers and developing them to be excellent leaders of character,” said Chin. “Not only did he demand the best of his Soldiers to ensure that the mission was always accomplished, but he also pushed them to finish Army schools, compete in Army boards, gain professional certifications, take college courses, and start advanced degrees. Staff Sgt. Reyes tirelessly worked to get to know his Soldiers, mentor them, connect them with key programs, and provide them the opportunity to grow.”
Chin believes that Reyes is extremely deserving of this honor.
“Staff Sgt. Reyes also had the unique experience of serving and deploying with the 7th Special Forces Group, so he is always sharing his knowledge and experience with his Soldiers,” said Chin. “I believe that he is a major reason why one of his noncommissioned officers, Staff Sgt. Tyler Nace, earned the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command and Army Futures Command NCO of the Year honors and represented AFC in the Army Best Squad Competition in early October 2023. But Staff Sgt. Reyes never seeks any attention or recognition for what he does, because he absolutely believes that this is his mission. Without a doubt, Staff Sgt. Reyes is a consummate leader and steward of the profession. I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”
Reyes has shown his dedication to Soldiers throughout his career. During one of his assignments, he served as a member in the Headquarters Research and Development Detachment, or HRDD, at DEVCOM SC. Additionally, he worked with Human Research Volunteers, or HRVs. HRVs play a vital role in the research, development, and testing of Soldier equipment, clothing, and combat rations. HRVs also help researchers garner a better understanding of human performance. Soldier feedback drives all research and development at DEVCOM SC.
“Staff Sgt. Reyes was an outstanding mentor to the Soldiers serving as HRVs at Soldier Center,” said Douglas Tamilio, director of DEVCOM SC. “Soldier studies and Soldier feedback drive all scientific and technological innovation at DEVCOM SC, and HRVs play an all-important role in our efforts. Leaders like Staff Sgt. Reyes help HRVs to carry out and understand their duties.”
“During my short time at DEVCOM SC, I had the opportunity to be a member of the HRDD cadre,” said Reyes. “I assisted in managing the various schedules of the HRVs to ensure they were at the correct locations and precise times to support the research mission. While a part of the cadre team, we reinforced the Soldiers MOS-specific skills and fundamental warrior tasks that they learned through basic training and Advanced Individual Training. I made it my goal to provide mentorship to each individual to prepare them professionally and personally for their first duty stations.”
Reyes thinks it is important to advocate for Soldiers.
“I try my best to support the mission of the Army and every unit I’ve been assigned to,” said Reyes. “I advocate for my Soldiers whenever I get the chance and assist them in achieving their goals. I hold each individual with the utmost respect because they volunteered to be a part of this organization knowing there will be times they will be pushed past their limits. All of my leaders, past and present, did the same for me. I find happiness in seeing all of my Soldiers succeed and also reach their goals.”
Reyes is dedicated to providing Soldiers with strong leadership.
“Good leadership is important to Soldiers and they deserve it,” said Reyes. “Leaders owe it to their Soldiers to provide the plethora of opportunities because someone once did the same for them. Soldiers are our future — at any moment they could be required to protect our country and each of them will face tough sacrifices throughout their careers. Every leader bears the responsibility of preparing Soldiers for the challenges they will face during their service.”
About DEVCOM Soldier Center: The DEVCOM Soldier Center is committed to discovering, developing, and advancing science and technology solutions that ensure America’s warfighters are optimized, protected, and lethal. DEVCOM Soldier Center supports all of the Army's Modernization efforts, with the Soldier Lethality and Synthetic Training Environment Cross Functional Teams being the DEVCOM Soldier Center’s chief areas of focus. The center’s science and engineering expertise are combined with collaborations with industry, DOD, and academia to advance Soldier and squad performance. The center supports the Army as it transforms from being adaptive to driving innovation to support a Multi-Domain Operations Capable Force of 2028 and a MDO Ready Force of 2035. DEVCOM Soldier Center is constantly working to strengthen Soldiers’ performance to increase readiness and support for warfighters who are organized, trained, and equipped for prompt and sustainable ground combat.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) outreach and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engineers are also an important part of the mission of DEVCOM Soldier Center. The mentoring of students by Army scientists and engineers benefits the students and their communities. It also increases young people's awareness of potential Army job opportunities and helps provide the Army with potential new talent, helping to fuel innovative ideas that benefit the nation's warfighters and the nation as a whole.
DEVCOM Soldier Center is part of DEVCOM. Through collaboration across the command's core technical competencies, DEVCOM leads in the discovery, development and delivery of the technology-based capabilities required to make Soldiers more lethal to win our nation's wars and come home safely. DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command.