AUSA honors outstanding Soldiers, civilians, community leaders

Bradley awardees and leadership pose for a photo at the 35th Annual General Omar N. Bradley Leadership Awards ceremony held at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center April 10. Photo by Sgt. Benjamin Kullman, 1st AD Public Affairs.

Bradley awardees and leadership pose for a photo at the 35th Annual General Omar N. Bradley Leadership Awards ceremony held at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center April 10. Photo by Sgt. Benjamin Kullman, 1st AD Public Affairs.

By Master Sgt. Kelly McCargo, 1st AD Public Affairs:

More than 200 Soldiers and El Paso citizens attended the Association for the U.S. Army’s General Omar N. Bradley Leadership Awards banquet at the Fort Bliss Centennial Banquet and Conference Center, April 10.

During the banquet, Association of the United States Army panel members recognized military, civilian and spousal nominees who, “consistently demonstrated those qualities exemplified by General of the Army Bradley.”

The selectees and category are:

• John Kirby, Fort Bliss Garrison Command, the DoD Civilian Category

• Staff Sgt. Joseph Simpliciano, 1st AD, 1st Brigade Combat Team, Active Enlisted Category.

• Capt. Christopher Ricciardi, Joint Task Force North, Active Officer Category.

• Sgt. 1st Class Clifton and Jennifer Norrid, 1st AD, 4th Brigade Combat Team, Bradley Chapter Family of the Year

• Muy Brands (Pizza Hut), Bradley Chapter Corporate Member of the Year

• Retired Lt. Gen. Robert and Jenny Lennox, Lt. Gen. Jack Costello Outstanding Citizen of the year

This year there were no nominations for the officer and enlisted Army Reserve and Army National Guard service components.

More than 20 nominees were submitted for their leadership and contributions throughout the Fort Bliss and El Paso community.

True to form, many awardees took the time to recognize their coworkers.

“The General of the Army Omar Bradley award is recognition of the great work performed by the education center staff every day in support of the Soldiers, Family Members and veterans of the Fort Bliss community,” Kirby said.

“Without the dedicated and untiring efforts of my team, the accomplishments cited in the award narrative would not be possible,” Kirby said.

Some of the awardees were taken off-guard for the nomination and even more surprised by the selection.

“After I heard that I was nominated I was a bit nervous and not prepared to win anything because I was also nominated along with other great non-commissioned officers from Fort Bliss,” Simpliciano said.  “Honestly … I was just doing my job and the responsibility that came along with the position, which was the accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers.

“I did not want to fail or lose anyone during our deployment to Afghanistan so there was a lot of sleepless nights and a lot of demanding tasks which I could have not done without the support of my non-commissioned officers and Soldiers within the platoon,” he said.

The banquet’s benefactor, General Bradley, was nicknamed the “G.I.s General” by war correspondent Ernie Pyle and characterized by many of his peers as a “polite, professional” leader during World War II.

In 1969, he was appointed as the “General of the Army” and was the last, of nine people, to hold the rank five-star general.

General Bradley died April 8, 1981 due to cardiac arrest and interred at the Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.

The banquet is held each year and is sponsored by more than 20 community organizations.

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