JMC officer selected for prestigious award
By Abigail Meyer, Fort Bliss Bugle Editor :
(El Paso, Texas, April 13, 2017) “Duty, honor, country” – it is the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, motto and they are the words Gen. Douglas MacArthur implored cadets to live by when he delivered his famous speech after receiving an award at the academy in 1962. Each year, the Army recognizes top company-grade officers and warrant officers who embody those ideals with the General Douglas A. MacArthur Leadership Award.
Fourteen active-duty Soldiers across the Army received the 2016 award this year, and Capt. Steven Simmons, an armor officer assigned to the U.S. Army Joint Modernization Command here, was one of them.
Maj. Gen. Terry McKenrick, commanding general, JMC, a West Point graduate and MacArthur award recepient, nominated Simmons, who works for McKenrick as his aide de camp. The award period was for all of 2016, including Simmons’ time as commander of Company C, 4th Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
“I was very fortunate I had a really good team during that time,” Simmons said. “I think I got really lucky with timing and I got really lucky with an amazing group of teams I’ve worked with for the last two years.”
Simmons led his unit through rotations at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, Louisiana, and the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California, and deployed with them to Kuwait for a few months at the end of his command time before joining the JMC team. In his nomination packet, his command highlighted some of his accomplishments, including having the highest reenlistment rate for the brigade and the highest operational readiness ratings for the brigade during NTC.
An excerpt from his nomination packet notes:
“Steven is a dedicated professional and inspirational leader who is in the top 1 percent of his peer group. He has an innate ability to motivate and influence those around him, fostering a positive environment for subordinates and superiors.”
Taking care of Soldiers is the cornerstone of his command philosophy.
“I believe that leaders should do everything in their power to give their subordinates what they need to succeed. We, as leaders, should be working for those who work for us. I’ve found that if you work toward that then your Soldiers will work twice as hard for you because they know you’re there for them and their success,” Simmons said. “Leaders should find ways to harness those successes and infuse that motivation and dedication back into their organization. I believe this creates an environment where people want to be a part of the team and want to succeed no matter how difficult. In turn, that just makes the leaders’ jobs easier.”
Simmons, a University of Central Florida graduate and a Florida native, has served almost nine years in the Army and has deployed three times to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait. Simmons credits a team effort for his success as a commander and said the honor of winning the award was overwhelming.
“I love the people in the Army. Man – I love Soldiers. They’re the best … They’re 100 percent the reason I stay in the Army,” Simmons said. “They’re the workhorses. All the 18-to-24-year-old men and women, they’re the ones that make the Army world go round.”
Simmons plans to continue his career in the Army, and heads to U.S. Army Central for his next assignment.
“It gives me purpose and I have a lot of pride when I put on my uniform,” Simmons said. “It’s awesome being able to do my job, leading Soldiers.”
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