WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 17, 2007) - Twenty-eight Army officers were presented the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award for exceptional leadership skills by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey and Jake Tobin, MacArthur Foundation representative, at the Pentagon yesterday.

In its 20th year, the award is given annually to active-duty and reserve-component company-grade officers who exhibit outstanding military performance, leadership and achievement, and who also reflect the ideals for which Gen. MacArthur stood - duty, honor and country.

Gen. Casey lauded the junior officers, adding that the MacArthur bust each receives will serve as a reminder of each winner's continued commitment to effective leadership in the Army.

"You have been forged in fire and blood and come out steel, and that steel will endure," the chief of staff said. "It will continue to endure so long as leaders possess, in MacArthur's words, the will to win and the sure knowledge that - in war - there is no substitute for victory."

One selectee, Capt. Timothy Gittins, a company commander with the 101st Airborne Division's Company C, 1st Squadron, 61st Cavalry, at Fort Campbell, Ky., was also chosen as one of "Time" magazine's top 100 influential people in the heroes and pioneers category. While he said he feels the MacArthur and "Time" awards are great honors, he considers himself just an ordinary guy who wants to keep focus on the job at hand.

"I'm just a Soldier trying to do my job and happened to get some accolades along the way, but really this award really goes to the senior leadership who brought me up, the subordinate NCOs... and the Soldiers who do all the hard work," he said. "Hopefully, I was a good representative."

Capt. Kate Conkey, a company commander with Fort Campbell's 716th Military Police Battalion, couldn't agree more with Capt. Gittins that it's the Soldiers she leads who have made her a successful leader.

"I learn a great deal by watching the interaction of my Soldiers with our NCOs and junior officers; it's give and take, and you hope you learn as much as you teach," she said. "Soldiers are the ones who do the work and make leaders successful. My Soldiers want to lead and they want to be led. Under the right leadership and in the right atmosphere, they'll excel as far as you let them. This is an award for all my Soldiers as much as it is for me."

Schofield Barracks, Hawaii-based Capt. Anthony Barbina, a company commander with the 25th Infantry Division's 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, also credits the deserving of his award to his Soldiers.

"I have a group of guys who are just amazing," he said. "I've got stellar lieutenants, an amazing first sergeant, one of the best engineering NCOs in the entire regiment and a bunch of Soldiers who every single day bust their butts - I think these guys are 100 percent deserving of the credit for everything that I've been recognized for and everything everyone else in our chain of command has been recognized for."

National Guard Capt. Josephine Jerome, a company commander with the 724th Engineer Battalion from Spooner, Wis., says she thinks commitment is the best trait a leader can have because if you're committed to the unit's tasks you'll do an excellent job, you'll take care of your Soldiers and they, in turn, will take care of you.

"What I want to pass on to my Soldiers is that they're part of an incredible team, part of something that is much stronger than they alone could ever be," she said. "I ask them to look for opportunities to serve in greater capacities because whenever you do that you're taking care of the guy to the right and to the left of you, and if you're taking care of those guys, they're going to do the same. That's one reason we have this great force we currently serve in."

The awardees will visit President Bush at the White House tomorrow.

For more information on the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award, visit www.macarthurmemorial.org.