By Jeff Crawley, Fort Sill CannoneerFebruary 1, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Fort Sill recognized its noncommissioned officer, Soldier and drill sergeant of the year during a ceremony Jan. 25, 2013 at the Patriot Club.
Hundreds of fellow Soldiers, civilians, families and friends packed the club to honor Staff Sgt. Matthew Seelig, Sgt. Spencer Black and Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Victor Marquez.
Keynote speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Jerome Wiggins, Air Defense Artillery Regimental CSM, said the three honorees defined excellence.
"They believed no matter how common the task, it sould be done uncommonly well," Wiggins said. "They did not believe in the bare minimum, they chose to follow the path of excellence."
Such a choice is sometimes hard, but always wise, said the CSM. "After all, the path to excellence is never crowded."
Wiggins also said the Soldiers never would have reached the pinnacle without the support of their spouses, families and friends.
Ceremony host Col. Donald Fryc, ADA School commandant and chief of ADA, had the three CSMs from the honorees' brigades (434th Field Artillery, 31st ADA and 75th Fires) stand up.
"Thanks so much for enduing a culture of competition and winning spirit in your formations," Fryc said to the leaders. "I appreciate you passing on that legacy of greatness that was obviously put into you."
Fryc said the young Soldiers who were recognized are inspirational leaders to everyone.
Black, 23, HHB, 3-13th Field Artillery, holds a Multiple Launch Rocket System Crewmember MOS. Competing as a specialist, Black was selected as FCoE Soldier of the fourth quarter.
"It's a high honor. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," said Black, on being selected as Soldier of the Year.
Black's supervisor, Staff Sgt. Frank Borba, 3-13th FA task force section chief, described him as an outstanding Soldier.
"As a young specialist he had motivation and natural drive," Borba said. "He really did want to be the best in everything that he did."
Black joined the Army in April 2009, attending BCT at Fort Jackson, S.C. At Advanced Individual Training in September 2010, he was the honor graduate in the 13M course.
Marquez, 30, won the grueling 434th FA drill sergeant of the year competition in April, and went on to compete in the Training and Doctrine Command DSoY competition in June.
"It's been a privilege and an honor to be the drill sergeant of the year," Marquez said, reflecting back. "Being a drill sergeant will have been one of the best things I did in my military career."
Originally from Juarez, Mexico, Marquez came to El Paso, Texas, in 1990, where his dad took an electrical engineering job. Marquez was then 8 and didn't speak English, but the public schools had a good English as a Second Language program, he said.
Marquez was introduced by 1st Sgt. Hector Hernandez, 2nd Battalion, 2nd FA. Hernandez was his drill sergeant in BCT here in 2004, and later his platoon sergeant at Fort Bliss, where he saw Marquez' potential to be a drill sergeant.
"He was a Soldier who led from the front, he was always good in PT, just an outstanding Soldier," Hernandez said.
Seelig, age 26, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 31st ADA Brigade platoon sergeant, was named the Fires Center of Excellence NCO for the first quarter 2012. During that ceremony March 22, Seelig was also inducted into the prestigious Fort Sill Chapter of the Sgt. Audie Murphy Club.
Now deployed, his wife, Bethany, represented him at last week's event.
"I'm so proud of him and honored I could stand in his place," she said. "I wish he could be here, but that's his job, and sometimes he has to leave."
Seelig's short-term goals are to volunteer his time helping others, and to earn an associate degree in general studies. His long-term goals are to become a command sergeant major and earn a bachelor's degree in health administration.
Enlisting in May 23, 2007, he attended Basic Combat Training at Fort Benning, Ga., and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Bliss, Texas.
During the ceremony, the awardees received the FCoE commanding general's, and CSM's coins of Excellence; Army Commendation medals; Fort Sill Sergeants Major Association plaques; and gifts from local donors.
Seelig and Black are eligible to go on to the Forces Command NCO, and Soldier of the Year competitions.