NEWS | May 7, 2010

MacArthur awards recognize seven Guard officers

By Army Sgt. Darron Salzer National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., - Seven National Guard members were presented with the MacArthur Leadership Award from the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation during a ceremony here at the Pentagon yesterday.

Army Captains Bill Barthen of the Wisconsin National Guard, Stephen E. Brack of Arkansas, William M. Gorby of West Virginia, Charles D. McWilliams of Nebraska, Timothy J. Newman of Illinois, Joseph A. Ruotolo of Pennsylvania, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Mark J. Simon of Rhode Island were recognized along with other Army company grade officers as demonstrating the ideals for which MacArthur stood for - duty, honor and country.

"Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be," MacArthur told cadets at the U.S. Military Academy in 1962. "They are your rallying points: 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."

Leadership is what it will take to get the Army through the challenges of the 21st century, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., chief of staff of the Army, said during the ceremony.

"The one thing that rings clear to us is that it's going to take leadership and leaders of character and competence to chart our way through the challenges [ahead]," he said. "All of these award winners have demonstrated the tremendous quality that we're privileged to have in our Army today."

Guard recipients of the award said they don't think that they've done anything above and beyond what the Army asks of them, only that they have simply stuck to the basics and are truly humbled by the recognition.

"It's awfully humbling to receive this award," said Barthen, the training officer for Wisconsin's 32nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team. "Just being nominated was huge in and of itself, and I was quite shocked to learn that I was the nominee for the state of Wisconsin."

"The basic Army values and warrior ethos that you learn at basic training and [advanced individual training] is what makes ," said Barthen. "It sounds simple, but it's very difficult to live these values -incorporate them into who you are, and then exude that amongst your Soldiers, admit your faults when wrong, and always do what's right and move forward."

Barthen said he is not trying to be the best leader. "I'm just trying to do what's right by my Soldiers all the time," he said. "Apparently, in the end, they appreciate that and the leadership appreciates that I do that too."

Other nominees echoed Barthen's sentiments and added that such things as esprit de corps and the ability to find a happy medium between mission success and keeping Soldiers happy are key qualities to leadership excellence.

"You have to maintain an esprit de corps and an ability to motivate," said Gorby, the battalion support company commander for West Virginia's 19th Special Forces Group. "When you have found that success, it motivates [your] men to complete the mission for them, not simply because they are following the protocol of rank and customs and courtesies."

Casey told the awardees that they "embody the spirit that our country will need to lead it forward in the decades ahead.

"Our nation can continue to be proud that we can bring forward generation after generation of Americans who believe so strongly in the values and ideals that this country stands for."