LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – It was a simple ceremony, but for eight soldiers with 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, Task Force Patriot, it was something they will be able to talk about for years.
During a visit to Forward Operating Base Gamberi, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, General Raymond Odierno, recognized their efforts by presenting them with his official coin. In the military, servicemembers are presented with a coin for performing an outstanding deed.
Spc. Christopher Ward single handedly developed an energy plan that will save the brigade an estimated $430,000 over the course of the deployment.
“That gives me a lot more motivation to keep doing what I’m doing,” said Ward, a generator mechanic, Company G, 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, “It makes it worthwhile knowing that it’s appreciated, that people do see it, and they don’t just take it for granted.”
Ward also rebuilt multiple generators on both Gamberi and Forward Operating Base Mehtar Lam.
“It was a really big honor,” said Sgt. Scott Sayce, a native of Pembroke, Mass., operations sergeant, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 4th Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. “For him to give his time and come see us here, it really means a lot.”
Sayce received the symbol of appreciation for his service acting, not only as his company’s operations sergeant, but also its armorer, clerk, and sometimes even its executive officer.
Spc. Mitchel David, 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment, Task Force Thunder, and Pfc. Omar Ross, a medic attached to 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Warrior also received Ordinerio’s coin.
David not only served as his battalion commander’s gunner, but he is also, his unit’s resident expert in the new Capability Set 13, the Army’s new networked suite of individual Soldier devices designed to increase battlefield command and control. David trains many of his fellow battalion Soldiers on the suite.
Spc. Michael Rogers, who isn’t part of Task Force Patriot but still a member of the 10th Mountain Division in the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, was honored by the Chief of Staff.
Rogers stood out for his efficiency in the the nightly refueling and rearming of all aircraft on FOB Mehtar Lam. FOB Methar Lam is a blackout FOB which means that everything done at night is done without man-made light.
Pfc. Ross distinguished himself by stabilizing casualties after an improvised explosive device injured seven Afghan National Army Soldiers and civilians. Ross also assisted in getting the victims to a higher level of care.
Each Soldier was nominated by their peers and leaders to receive the Chief of Staff’s Coin.
Some of the soldiers said they were only successful because of the people supporting them and accepted the symbol of appreciation, from Odierno, on behalf of the colleagues who nominated them.
“I was just lucky enough to be the recipient of a coin that I believe was for the efforts of a lot of people,” said Sgt. 1st Class William Cossins, an advisor for the 201st Afghan National Army Corps Tactical Operations Center. “The pat on the back really felt good and I wanted to make sure that my guys knew that even though it was me standing there, the pat on the back was for all of us.”
Supply specialists Sgt. Timothy Rogers of Task Force Warrior, and Pfc. Elizabeth Adan, a member of HHC, 4th BCT, 10TH MTN DIV., were also recognized for their work in helping to facilitate Task Force Patriot’s recent transfer of authority in Regional Command East.
“Not a lot of people got a coin, and especially me, a Pfc. who hasn’t even been in the Army a year. It feels pretty awesome, I don’t know any other way to explain it,” said Adan, a native of Orange County, Calif.
Some of the soldiers said the recognition inspired them to work toward even greater goals. Ward plans on applying to become a warrant officer once the deployment ends. Odierno briefly met with the leadership on Gamberi after presenting the Soldiers their coins and reaffirmed his confidence in them and the rest of the Army.
“Today we’re the best Army in the world. Five years from now we’ll be the best Army in the world,” said Odierno.