Face of Defense: NCO Leads by Example in Iraq
By Army Spc. Andrew Ingram
U.S. Division North
CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq, July 21, 2011 Army Sgt. Cynthia Philip prides herself in mentoring soldiers as she serves her third deployment with the 1st Cavalry Division’s Company E, 1st Battalion, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Advise and Assist Brigade, supporting Operation New Dawn.
Army Sgt. Cynthia Philip updates records for a soldier at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, Iraq, July 11, 2011. U.S. Army photo by Spc. Andrew Ingram
(Click photo for screen-resolution image);high-resolution image available.
“I care about my soldiers,” said Philip, a training noncommissioned officer who hails from Albuquerque, N.M. “Looking out for them is my No. 1 priority. I do my best to do the right thing every day so I can be a good example for them.”
Philip, originally one of the battalion’s signal support specialists, assumed the role of training NCO to maintain up-to-date training and awards records for Company E soldiers.
“When I first started working in the training room, things were very disorganized,” she said. “A lot of our soldiers’ paperwork was outdated or wrong, so right now we are just trying to get everything organized and corrected.”
Her company commander, Army Capt. John Mohundro, said he has come to trust and rely on Philip to consistently get the job done.
“Sergeant Philip is probably the best junior NCO in our company,” said Mohundro, a College Station, Texas, native. “She is very intuitive and is able to solve a lot of issues before [we] even realize there is a problem.”
Philip stands out as a soldier who strives to go the extra mile and figure out new ways to assist the mission in addition to her assigned tasks, Mohundro added.
“Even as a junior NCO, Sergeant Philip took the role of the headquarters platoon sergeant,” he said. “Then she assumed the role of training NCO because she wanted to make sure the soldiers were properly taken care of, and she keeps adding jobs to her repertoire without giving any up.”
Mohundro said he doesn’t know how Philip handles it all, but that it’s impressive.
“She really loves soldiers,” he said. “She has been able to guide and mentor a few soldiers who were displaying some problems, and thanks to her, they are out in other units and doing very well.”
Philip stands out as a role model and mentor for the junior enlisted soldiers of the company, many on their first deployment, said Army Pfc. Maria Teresa Alvarez, a chemical operations specialist with Company E.
“It is very important for us to have female mentorship,” said Alvarez, who calls Maui, Hawaii, home. “It makes this deployment a little bit easier, because we know that she has been through all of this before. Sometimes females need mentors that can understand their unique problems, and I’m glad we have Sergeant Philip.”
Philip said she looks forward to seeing her soldiers grow and succeed as the deployment continues.
“I have a great group of soldiers,” she said. “No matter what mission they give us, no matter how impossible it seems, somehow we always get it done. The soldiers in this company surprise me every day, and I am proud to be a part of this unit.”