By Sgt. Tiffany EvansMarch 25, 2010
Fort Drum community members gathered March 10 to honor graduates of the Warrior Leader Course, which teaches troops the skills required to lead, train, fight and accomplish the mission as noncommissioned officers.
Guest speaker for the ceremony was U.S. Army Medical Department Activity Fort Drum Command Sgt. Maj. Alexis A. King.
During the ceremony, King spoke about what graduates had learned during their two weeks of training.
"For the past 15 days, the men and women of this graduating class engaged in training (that) included topics such as leadership, problem-solving, developmental counseling, map reading, land navigation, physical fitness and hands-on evaluations," King said. "At the tail end of the course, they had an opportunity to execute a check on learning by meshing and demonstrating everything they had learned into a highly realistic field training exercise."
The command sergeant major shared a humorous story about his wife and their anniversary to illustrate the importance of family support.
"Since the day I was born, I have faced many stressful and near-death experiences that have changed my life one way or the other. For instance, just last year, I forgot my 11th wedding anniversary," King said.
"The point I'm trying to make is that no matter how many times we miss an event or special occasion, our Families continue to support us. They understand that without their support, we would probably fail at our mission."
He also discussed the importance of being an NCO, saying it isn't just about being promoted.
"Becoming a NCO is more than just a promotion; it is an indoctrination into a brotherhood of leaders known as the backbone of the Army," King said. "It is a membership into a prestigious organization possessing a wealth of historical heritage that dates back to the days of the Roman Empire."
Next he spoke of communication, counseling, the Army values, NCO Creed and self development. King listed defined all seven of the Army values: loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity and personal courage.
Finally, King shared a piece of wisdom with the audience that had been passed on to him from a former commander.
"I have spent the last few minutes discussing your accomplishments at WLC; I've given you a brief historical perspective of the NCO Corps and provided you with a few pointers to assist you in your development as junior leaders," King concluded.
"A great brigade commander, Col. David Rubenstein, now Maj. Gen. Rubenstein, once said, 'The greatest sin we can commit against the American people is to send a group of untrained Soldiers into combat.' As squad leaders and team leaders, you have the moral obligation - the duty - to prevent this from happening. I encourage you to train future leaders today, not tomorrow. Climb to Glory! Care enough to make a difference! Army Strong!"
After sharing his remarks, King helped honor the graduates.
Spc. Jerry A. Gustafson, B Company, 277th Aviation Support Battalion, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, was named Distinguished Honor Graduate for earning the highest academic average.
The John D. Magrath Leadership Award went to Spc. Amber L. Williams, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 91st Military Police Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade.
The commandant's inspection winner was Spc. Benjamin J. Shipp, C Company, 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th CAB. Instructor of the cycle was Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Considine.
The following Soldiers were named to the Commandant's List: Sgt. William K. Kingdollar, 10th Aviation Battalion Medical Company, 10th CAB; Sgt. Douglas R. Schwenn, 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade; Spc. Matthew Katayama, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th CAB; Spc. Erik E. Lopez, 1st Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, 10th CAB; Spc. Paul C. Sale, 277th ASB, 10th CAB; Spc. Jennifer L. Vangalder, 59th Chemical Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade; Spc. Stephen J. Wagner, 57th Transportation Company, 10th Sustainment Brigade; and Spc. Thomas Zbinden-Brassard, 3rd GSAB, 10th CAB.
Other WLC graduates are as follows: Sgt. Shana L. Abdus, Sgt. Scott M. Altgilbers, Sgt. Randy A. Bartz, Sgt. Christopher D. Boyles, Sgt. Candida D. Bryant, Sgt. Paul A. Gorse, Sgt. Jason L. Kemp, Sgt. Cory R. Nelson, Sgt. Amanda R. Pete, Sgt. Vernon Y. Redd, Sgt. Josiah B. Russell, Sgt. Jody L. Sweeney, Sgt. George E. Williamson, Spc. Armando A. Ayala, Spc. Samuel C. Bennett, Spc. James N. Boulay, Spc. Stanley K. Bundotich, Spc. Curtis J. Cimpson, Spc. John J. Davidson and Spc. Javon D. Ford.
Also, Spc. Megan E. Geu, Spc. Jeanean M. Ghering, Spc. Jonathon D. Gilbert, Spc. Robert Goetz, Spc. David A. Gunderson, Spc. Christopher Hackett, Spc. Jason C. Hale, Spc. Patrick R. Hill, Spc. Jeffery T. Hodge, Spc. Timothy J. Hopkins, Spc. Keith L. Jean-Baptiste, Spc. Linville J. Jenkins, Spc. Matthew B. Jennings, Spc. Damaris N. Kanyoro, Spc. Heather A. Kinard, Spc. Shaiwan M. Lasorba, Spc. Christopher Litzner and Spc. Chance B. Lyon.
Also, Spc. Andrew S. Marsh, Spc. Brian A. Marshall, Spc. Keith S. Maynard, Spc. Vance M. Mckinstry, Spc. Jacob R. Messer, Spc. Adam C. Meuser, Spc. Michael R. Miller, Spc. Justin N. Mood, Spc. Logan A. Moss, Spc. Samuel M. Nyandia, Spc. Kellye D. Ortiz, Spc. Mitchell L. Pace, Spc. Saroeun Pen, Spc. Sonsolar Phim, Spc. Tommy W. Queen, Spc. Christian Ramirez-Martinez and Spc. Hector Rivera-Pratts.
Also, Spc. Andrew R. Samuelson, Spc. Christine C. Schnell, Spc. Joseph M. Siekert, Spc. Regina M. Sportsman, Spc. Sean R. Stevens, Spc. Brian C. Tarbell, Spc. Daniel C. Tijerina, Spc. Lukasz P. Trojanowski, Spc. Dawn M. Wallace, Spc. Jeremiah J. Wells, Spc. Sherry N. Wright, Spc. Doug N. Underwood and Spc. Brian R. Vansant.