By Capt. Kevin SandellMarch 14, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- A 3rd Brigade Combat Team company commander has been named a recipient of the prestigious General MacArthur Leadership Award, an honor awarded annually only to 28 commissioned officers and warrant officers Armywide.
Capt. Widmar Roman, commander of C Company, 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, was nominated by his battalion command group for exemplifying the ideals for which Gen. Douglas MacArthur stood -- duty, honor and country. The award serves to promote and sustain officer leadership at the company-grade level, while recognizing true commitment to Army values.
In an award acceptance address to the cadets of the U.S. Military Academy in 1962, MacArthur left a memorable tribute to the ideals that inspired great American Soldiers.
"Duty, honor, country -- those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be," MacArthur said. "They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."
For Roman, the duty in being an Army leader comes through serving his Soldiers in all aspects of daily military life. Developing his company to be its best has helped Roman define his own style of leadership.
"In addition to the Army definition of leadership, I believe leadership is largely a servant role," Roman said. "I believe everything I do -- training, mentoring, directing, correcting, and even nonjudicial punishment -- is geared towards helping our Soldiers be better at their profession and be better citizens."
Roman, who received his commission from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 2005, has served with the 1st Infantry Division, 75th Ranger Regiment, and now the 10th Mountain Division (LI). He has served as a platoon leader, company executive officer, assistant operations officer at the battalion and regimental levels, and now as a company commander.
Taking command of C Company during the brigade's last deployment to Afghanistan, Roman faced an uphill battle in one of the toughest areas of Kandahar Province. The village of Nalgham was a Taliban stronghold, and it even had an enemy operations center in the village center. Soldiers of C Company were influential in securing the village and taking it back for the Afghan residents there. While the unit lost seven Soldiers in combat, the experience made them stronger and a better team.
"The company went through a very tough fight and experienced a great deal of loss," Roman said. "What I admired most about our Soldiers is that although they saw several of their brothers wounded in combat and carried away seven of their brothers who made the ultimate sacrifice, they continued to lace their boots up, don their body armor and execute their missions to a high standard every day. They did so until we got on the plane to return home."
Earning the MacArthur Leadership Award is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many company-grade officers, especially considering its competitiveness. However, Roman said the award is also a consideration of his Family's sacrifices and Soldiers' ethics.
"It is a direct reflection of my Family's sacrifices, as they spent the majority of the past calendar year with no father or husband at home, yet continued their unwavering support," he said. "It is also a direct reflection of our Soldiers' work ethic, toughness and dedication to duty through a tough deployment and a busy training cycle."
The MacArthur Leadership Award is a Department of the Army-authorized award under Army Regulation 600-89, which sets the selection criteria and nomination packets. Candidates must demonstrate leadership, influence, proficiency, values, team-building and personal skills. Officers nominated from the active Army also must receive a general officer's endorsement. Each of the Army's major commands, service component commands and direct reporting units nominates a specific number of junior officers from the active Army, National Guard and Army Reserves.
The 28 awardees receive an engraved 15-pound bronze bust of MacArthur, along with a commendation letter from the Army chief of staff in their personnel file. The awardees will be recognized during a ceremony May 29-30 at the in Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
To Roman, the award is certainly an honor to earn, but he said it does not change the most important aspect of leading, which is serving Soldiers and the nation. The Spartan Brigade returned from its last deployment in March 2012 after accomplishing positive actions for the Afghan people that had not been seen in 30 years. For example, Roman said that his Soldiers in 1-32 Infantry executed an actual parade with "Afghan National Security Forces down a road which was originally impassable due to (improvised explosive devices) and Taliban defenses."
For other junior officers hoping to lead Soldiers in combat, Roman offered sound advice.
"Remain humble, listen to your junior leaders and Soldiers, and follow your gut in terms of what you know and believe to be the right thing to do," Roman said. "Doing the right thing isn't always enjoyable, but as a leader, we are responsible for maintaining the moral integrity of our units."