• NCO earns MCTP’s 1st Warfighter Award

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  • Katie Peterson | Staff Writer
    In September 2018, Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Smalley, Mission Command Training Program military intelligence observer/coach/ trainer for Operations Group Delta, travelled to Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, for Warfighter Exercise 19-1.
    “It was with the 25th Infantry Division and as an intel observer/coach, I was observing, coaching and training the G2 (Intelligence),” Smalley said. “I showed them how to do their shift change briefs, I provided guidance on specific intel products and processes, how to improve those, as well as roles and responsibilities throughout the G2.”
    Smalley’s work during the exercise earned him the first Noncommissioned Officer of the Warfighter Award at the MCTP winter awards ceremony Dec. 7 at the Post Theater.
    “This individual NCO award is the resulting recognition of the NCO’s significant contributions and impact made on training audiences through their demonstrated ability to coach, mentor and counsel during a warfighter exercise,” said Lt. Col. Edward Hooks, MCTP public affairs officer.
    Warfighter exercises, which are conducted five times per year, present scenarios in which unit staffs plan and conduct notional combat missions.
    “At MCTP, it is our job to be subject matter experts and to know doctrine in order to use that knowledge to give that knowledge to the training audiences in order to help them improve,” Smalley said. “We work as a mentor role. We provide the lessons learned over past exercises, (and) best practices throughout the Army on how to improve processes and become more efficient.”
    Smalley, who also received the Army Physical Fitness Badge during the ceremony, was nominated for the Warfighter award by Col. Robert Smith, chief of Operations Group Delta, MCTP.
    “Smalley has proven himself to be a highly capable and integral addition to Operations Group Delta. His ability to provide timely and measurable assistance to the training audiences and units we support has been profound,” Smith said. “As a profession, his demonstrated application of the intelligence warfighting function and his ability to maintain his professional knowledge in support of the Mission Command Training Program’s core competency of assisting in the development of units by providing them a holistic training event against a simulated near peer competitor was instrumental in our success during the recent division warfighter.”
    Smalley said he was honored to receive the award and that it would affect future exercises.
    “It is not only me, but I think everybody else,” he said. “I think (it will affect) the other O/C/Ts, too. It is always good to have that incentive and to be recognized for hard work.”
    Smith said he was proud to see Smalley receive the recognition.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Service members deserve recognition for their acts, particularly when those are acts of selfless service. It is a testament to our arms. Further, it defines who we are as a profession,” he said. “(Smalley’s) acts were an honor not only to himself, but to the Mission Command Training Program as well. They reflect what we should all intrinsically seek for ourselves, the betterment of the Army team. As such, Operations Group Delta could not be more proud to have been able to provide him this opportunity to excel.”
    Smalley said his thanks go to his senior leaders.
    “I want to thank my sergeant major and the officers and warrant officers in the intel office for providing me the mentorship and the guidance on how to do my job well,” he said. “It was an honor to be selected.”
    The Warfighter Award was developed by MCTP Command Sgt. Maj. Michael McKay. The idea began when he assumed responsibility of MCTP in February 2018.
    “(Former MCTP Command Sgt. Maj. Dan Hidalgo) discussed with me that one of his challenges was (naming) an NCO of the month or soldier of the month. Based on the structure of the organization, I could see where he was challenged,” McKay said. “So, I sat and did my own analysis and realized that we need to do something that is more focused around the warfighters, which is our principle duty and mission, and normally doesn’t just involve the enlisted population, noncommissioned officers and soldiers, but also the officers, warrant officers and our Army civilians.”
    From there, McKay developed four categories for the Warfighter Award: NCO, officer and two civilian awards — one to a civilian who was on-site for the exercise and one to a civilian who was at Fort Leavenworth in a support capacity.
    The Officer of the Warfighter Award went to Lt. Col. John Gervais, senior nuclear, biological, and chemical observer/coach/ trainer, MCTP. The Civilian of the Warfighter Awards went to Jeffrey Dickerson, MCTP information management officer, and Jeffrey Crable, MCTP supervisory simulations specialist.
    The Warfighter Award will be given for each warfighter exercise throughout the year.
    “I’m hoping it will raise levels of motivation,” McKay said, “the esprit de corps.”
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