The 705th Military Police Battalion (Detention) and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7356 of Parkville, Mo., recognized two soldiers during an awards ceremony June 16 outside the 705th Headquarters building.
First, Master Sgt. David Royer, 705th MP Battalion correctional noncommissioned officer, was honored for the actions he took to end an active-shooter situation May 27 on Centennial Bridge in Leavenworth.
“He’s a hero. He thought about it, he assessed the situation, used things that we were taught, he literally did that and saved lives,” said 1st Sgt. Thurman Lewis, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Joint Regional Correctional Facility. “He’s done amazing things throughout his military career. He’s an amazing person and a great leader.” Royer was presented with a handcrafted wooden flag and a coin representing the 75th anniversary of VFW Post 7356.
“We’re really, really blessed to be invited to come and present and recognize a great NCO,” said VFW Post 7356 Senior Vice Commander Maj. Hank Cartagena, Mission Command Training Program observer coach/trainer. “We were able to listen on the television news and what a great soldier and NCO this is who has a great family, a great background and values that came to play that day on a bridge.
“We really appreciate what you did for this community that day and what you continue to do every day for Platte County and for your fellow soldiers while you continue to wear the uniform and for your family that supports you,” he said.
Retired Lt. Col. Kevin Johnston, VFW Post 7356 trustee, said he was pleased to be at the ceremony.
“What a great pillar within your community and an asset to the United States Army,” Johnston said. “A shining example to soldiers everywhere.”
Royer said he doesn’t think of himself as a hero.
“I just did a courageous act. I’m just a crazy guy that took out a crazier guy,” Royer said. “It takes a lot more than that to be a hero. It takes commitment. It takes responsibility. It takes time to make a difference in someone’s world.
“I know everyone calls me a hero, but there are a lot of you out here that are heroes,” he said. Royer was also presented the Meritorious Service Medal for his time in the service as he prepares to leave active duty.
The second award presented by the the 705th and the VFW was a surprise for single mother Sgt. Alicia Noel, supply sergeant, HHC, JRCF.
“Noel is an amazing noncommissioned officer. It doesn’t matter what her (military occupational specialty) is, she’s amazing,” Lewis said. “She’s a wonderful leader, a wonderful mother, a wonderful person to just emulate and follow.
“She’s a mentor. Everything that she does, she thinks about it, she uses critical thinking, she sees how she’s going to approach it, and she gets it done,” he said. “There’s not one mission that myself and the commander have ever given her that she has failed. …Thank you so much for everything that you do. …We appreciate you so much.”
Noel was also presented with a handcrafted wooden flag and some activities and snacks for her 6-year-old son, Ashton.
“When we heard Sergeant Noel’s story, we were really motivated to come and recognize her because she overcomes challenges, and she serves her fellow soldiers in her leadership every day,” Cartagena said. “It is just incredible that people help you and you help people, and your son is here witnessing a great leader and a great mother who is setting a wonderful example of providing such sacrifice to the Army and to your fellow soldiers.”
Noel said she thought she was just taking photos of Royer’s award presentation and was surprised to be recognized.
“You just work, work, work and try to always do the right thing,” Noel said. “The chain of command with JRCF, they are an awesome chain of command to be under. I’m really grateful for that.”