• MCTP welcomes new senior NCO

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    Command Sgt. Maj. Michael McKay II assumed responsibility as the senior noncommissioned officer of the Mission Command Training Program from Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Hidalgo during a ceremony Feb. 21 in the Lewis and Clark Center’s Eisenhower Auditorium.
    MCTP Commander Col. Kimo Gallahue hosted the ceremony.
    “The purpose of this ceremony is to mark the significant transition in leadership in this organization,” Gallahue said.
    McKay enlisted into the U.S. Army as an infantryman in 1990 and throughout the past 28 years, he has served at Fort Ord, Calif.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Kobbe, Panama; Fort Benning, Ga.; Alexandria, Va.; and Apra Harbor, Guam, and was most recently assigned to Fort Polk, La., as the Task Force 3 command sergeant major, Operations Group, Joint Readiness Training Center. He has served in Operation Safe Passage, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
    “McKay is a combat tested and proven leader and soldier … He is uniquely qualified to assume this position especially as a determined volunteer for us as we continue to change the warfighter for more real training,” Gallahue said. “Welcome to the team and I truly look forward to our service together.”
    McKay’s decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, five Meritorious Service Medals, the Army Commendation Medal with “V” device, two Army Commendation Medals, the Army Achievement Medal with two silver oak leaf clusters, nine Good Conduct Medals, two National Defense Service Medals, Afghanistan and Iraq Campaign Medals, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Humanitarian Service Medal, five NCO Professional Development Ribbons; an Army Service Ribbon, four Overseas Service Ribbons, the NATO Medal, the Multinational Force and Observers Medal, a Combat Infantry Badge, Expert Infantry Badge, a Senior Parachutist Badge, an Air Assault Badge, a Pathfinder Badge and a Ranger Tab.
    His awards also include the Joint Meritorious Unit Award, two Valorous Unit Awards and two Meritorious Unit Commendation Awards.
    McKay said he was looking forward to beginning his duties as MCTP command sergeant major.
    “Since my arrival last month, I’ve been impressed with the level of professionalism and competency demonstrated by each one of you in this organization,” McKay said. “I look forward to serving alongside of you, decisively.”
    McKay assumed responsibility from Hidalgo who has served as MCTP command sergeant major for two years, beginning when the Army and MCTP began to shift toward readiness for large-scale combat operations, Gallahue said.
    “Throughout this shift, with all the external guidance, short-fused directives, sometimes just general good ideas, (Hidalgo) has been the model of a senior noncommissioned officer. Dan is truly a confident, calm and caring leader. He is usually able to interact on all levels from flag officers to private soldiers. His efforts to glorify both the execution and the internal organization have made a great and lasting impact on how we train,” Gallahue said.
    Page 2 of 2 - “As an example, he generated a much-needed redesign of our enlisted (Table of Distribution and Allowances) and most of our NCOs have viewed his tireless work with (Human Resource Command) across all the branches. His expertise in command post operations are invaluable, he’s an innovative thinker and it is due to his insight that (the Combined Arms Center) is more how we train and man our command posts. These and so many things are what a good sergeant major does, and Dan has executed all of these flawlessly.”
    Before assuming responsibility of MCTP, Hidalgo served at Fort Wainwright, Alaska; Fort Campbell, Ky.; Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Jackson, S.C.; Fort Hood, Texas; Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.; Panmunjom, South Korea, and most recently, served as command sergeant major for the 2nd Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Bridge Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colo.
    Hidalgo will go on to serve as the interim sergeant major at CAC-Training until April before serving as the command sergeant major of the Command and General Staff College’s Pre-Command Course until his retirement in the summer of 2019.
    Hidalgo’s decorations include a Bronze Star Medal with one oak leaf cluster, a Meritorious Service Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, an Army Commendation Medal with one silver and one bronze oak leaf cluster, an Army Achievement Medal with one oak leaf cluster, a Combat Infantry Badge, a Drill Sergeant Badge, a Ranger Tab, a Parachutist Badge, an Air Assault Badge and an Expert Infantry Badge. His foreign awards include the Honduran Parachutist’s Badge and the Kosovo Campaign Medal.
    Hidalgo said he enjoyed his time serving as the MCTP command sergeant major.
    “It was truly my honor to serve as your sergeant major,” he said. “I sincerely wish each of you all the best in your future endeavors.”
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