Army NCO of the Year Focuses on Training, Warrior Ethos
By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 5, 2005 The Army's new noncommissioned officer of the year credits a strong commitment to training and the warrior ethos with developing him as an effective leader.
Sgt. Jeremy Kamphuis, named Army's new NCO of the Year by the Association of the U.S. Army at its annual meeting, credits training and the warrior ethos with making him a strong leader. Photo by Donna Miles
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
Sgt. Jeremy Kamphuis was named the Army's top NCO Oct. 3 at the Association of the U.S. Army's annual meeting here.
Kamphuis, a squad leader with the 127th Military Police Company based in Hanau, Germany, represented U.S. Army Europe in the NCO-of-the-Year competition. To earn the title, the 23-year-old native of Grand Rapids, Mich., beat out the top NCOs from the Army's nine other major commands.
Sgt. Chad Steuck, who serves with the 10th Mountain Division's 4th Brigade at Fort Polk, La., earned Soldier of the Year honors. The newly promoted Steuck represented U.S. Forces Command in the competition.
Speaking to the American Forces Press Service during the AUSA meeting, Kamphuis said his deployment to Iraq underscored the lessons in leadership he's gathered during his five-year Army career.
Kamphuis joined the Army Reserve in 2000, and then went on active duty in 2003 because he said he wanted to concentrate on his military training fulltime.
Just back from Iraq in April, Kamphuis said the experience reaffirmed the importance of "giving 100 percent" training until the skills used become almost instinctive.
"When it comes to combat, you fall back on your training," he said. "Then, when the hard times come around, you don't have time to be scared. You just fall back on what you're trained to do."
That's what happened to Kamphuis' unit during a particularly memorable firefight at an Iraqi police station in Baghdad. The MPs helped defend the station and took no casualties in the process.
Kamphuis said his deployment also reaffirmed his belief in "leading from the front."
"I don't expect my soldiers to do anything I wouldn't do," he said.
To young soldiers aspiring to be strong leaders, Kamphuis offered a simple formula for success. "Live by the warrior ethos," he said.
That ethos, which the Army teaches all soldiers at all levels, has four basic tenants:
- Always put the mission first;
- Never accept defeat;
- Never quit; and
- Never leave a fallen comrade.
Following those tenets, Kamphuis said, "is a sure-fire way of becoming a great leader."