By Capt. Murray Shugars, 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined ArmsFebruary 16, 2010
CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION Q-WEST, Iraq - A Mississippi Army National Guard Soldier received a command sergeant major's award for embodying the Army value of duty during a ceremony at Contingency Operating Location Q-West, Feb. 15.
Spc. James B. McMinn, a Lake Village, Ark., native and a gunner serving with B Company, 2nd Battalion, 198th Combined Arms, 155th Brigade Combat Team, out of Greenwood, Miss., was publically acknowledged for embodying the Army value of duty. McMinn was not present for the ceremony, having redeployed to attend a stateside military school.
To honor outstanding service at the end of the deployment, the senior NCOs of the battalion recognized seven Soldiers from throughout the battalion who embody one of the Army values of loyalty, duty, respect, service, honor, integrity and personal courage, said Command Sgt. Maj. Perry Campbell.
"This is an NCO-driven effort to honor Soldiers who stood out during the deployment," said Campbell, a native of Senatobia, Miss. "The NCOs wanted to remind every Soldier in the Battalion that outstanding service is not always the result of a single act. It is the everyday practice of upholding the Army values."
1st Sgt. Michael A. Ginn, a native of Ittabena, Miss., said McMinn is among the most dependable Soldiers in his company.
"The Army defines duty as acting in the absence of orders or direction, based on an inner sense of what is morally and professionally right," said Ginn. "Specialist McMinn sets the standard for duty in Bravo Company. He always fulfills his obligations and takes responsibility for his actions and the actions of those under his care. He has a sound character for excellence. He's always on time, in the right uniform, never complaining and always accomplishes the mission."
Staff Sgt. Wesley N. Page, McMinn's squad leader, said that McMinn exhibits the Army Value of duty in everything he does.
"He is a gunner in 2nd Platoon and serves as communications specialist during missions," said Page. "He has spent many hours training on various radios to ensure that our platoon can communicate on the road. He is one of the first soldiers to show up on mission day and one of the last to leave after the mission is complete. His M249 Squad Automatic Weapon and shotgun are always properly cleaned and mission-capable. He always completes tasks with the utmost professionalism and in a timely manner. Specialist McMinn is always willing to help with any duty that the platoon has to do."
McMinn said he was surprised by the recognition.
"I didn't expect this, and it's a great honor to be one of the few Soldiers chosen for this recognition," said McMinn. "They could have chosen any number of Soldiers who work just as hard to get the job done."
When asked how he defined duty, McMinn said it was the effort to always do the best with any task.
"A Soldier should always give the best effort at everything because doing something half-way is sometimes worse than not doing anything at all," said McMinn. "Half-efforts don't get the job done. Like it or not, you do the job because you have to, and there's no point in complaining."