Fort Drum Soldiers, civilians and Family Members gathered June 14 to recognize 97 graduates of Warrior Leader Course Class 09-11 at the Multipurpose Auditorium.
Guest speaker Sgt. Maj. John R. Jones, operations sergeant major, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, shared some words of wisdom with the graduating Soldiers.
“As you return to your units … train and share the knowledge you have gained. Continue to fine-tune your own skills, (in order) to give the edge in combat, and seek taking (on) greater responsibilities as leaders,” he said.
He told Soldiers, with the completion of the course, they had demonstrated that they are highly qualified and extremely competitive.
Jones said the Soldiers’ role as leaders would be a challenging task. To meet that challenge, they must lead by example, meet and exceed Army standards through professionalism, and enforce the same standards for their subordinates, peers and superiors.
“A true leader is one who de-monstrates a genuine concern for their unit, their Soldiers and their Families. They must be resilient and believe in what they are accomplishing is for the good of our Army,” he noted.
Jones then asked the Soldiers to be resilient as the Army experiences challenges.
“The Army is going through a very difficult and demanding period of time, where budget constraints, force reductions, suicides and deployments are quickly impacting on our Army. These issues will directly affect all Soldiers in uniform and their Families, now and in the near future,” he said.
He also touched upon the importance of the patches the graduates wear.
“Your name is on your chest. That name not only represents you, but it represents your entire Family,” he said.
He noted an additional name on their uniforms: the “U.S. Army,” which he described as “a powerful force that has been going strong for 236 years today, the Army’s birthday.”
“You have a unit patch or distinctive unit insignia. This represents a special Family – a band of brothers and sisters. One team. One fight,” he told the graduates.
He noted the U.S. flag is worn, representing “a force that the whole world recognizes and respects.”
The last patch he commented on was the Soldiers’ rank, which he said represents leadership.
“You, the leader, set the example. You, the leader, practice the Army values and warrior ethos. You, the leader, represent all on your uniform that I talked about, to infinity, plus one,” he said.
He summed up his speech by telling graduates, “you are here because the leaders above you believe in you, that you have the potential to become great leaders. Do not let them down.”
After concluding his remarks, Jones helped to honor the graduates.
Sgt. Aaron M. Cook, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, was named Distinguished Honor Graduate for his outstanding academic achievement.
Sgt. Jaclyn Grego, 543rd Military Police Company, 91st MP Battalion, 10th Sustainment Brigade, received the Jared C. Monti Leadership Award. Morris was nominated for the award by her classmates.
Sgt. Jason D. Race, 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Bri-gade Combat Team, received the Commandant’s Inspection award.
The Instructor of the Cycle award was presented to Staff Sgt. Rafael J. Fernandez.
The following Soldiers performed above course standards and were named to the Commandant’s List: Staff Sgt. Pete W. Fields, Sgt. Lawrence T. Alvelo, Sgt. Robert L. Bennett, Sgt. Juliane C. Ber-quam, Sgt. Jaclyn Grego, Sgt. Jason D. Race, Sgt. Gustin T. Stamatinos, Spc. Daniel P. Archer, Spc. Stephen P. Bonett, Spc. Jessica L. Corona, Spc. Zachary R. Dawson, Spc. Jeffrey P. Grabill, Spc. Nathan H. Harris, Spc. Matthew A. Root, Spc. Ryan P. Shannon, Spc. Shirali A. Shukla, Spc. Charles E. Way and Cpl. Anthony G. Norris.
The following Soldiers were named Class 09-11’s Top Drill Squad: Sgt. Jacqueline E. Deane, Sgt. Curtis N. Egli, Sgt. Jason D. Race, Sgt. Gustin T. Stamatinos, Sgt. Joseph M. Street, Spc. Wade R. Giacomini, Spc. Shannon M. Torres and Cpl. Levi D. Jerrold.
Other WLC graduates were as follows: Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miner, Sgt. Juan C. Alvarez, Sgt. Joseph A. Arriaga, Sgt. Zachary T. Blevins, Sgt. Cody D. Campbell, Sgt. Luis J. Campos, Sgt. Raul A Canto, Sgt. Dianne M. Carter, Sgt. David E. Dandy, Sgt. Jamie A. Dixon, Sgt. Jeremiah S. Farmer and Sgt. Joseph B. Frazier.
Also, Sgt. Abel Gonzalez, Sgt. Jesus Herrera Jr., Sgt. Ramon J. Herrera II., Sgt. Kyle A. Higgins, Sgt. David M. Hossage, Sgt. Scott M. Johnson, Sgt. Jesse A. Lorigan, Sgt. Nathan R. Mast, Sgt. Brian A. McIntire, Sgt. Rene Mejia, Sgt. Robert-Louis C. Oglesby, Sgt. Cole E. Palmer, Sgt. Michael J. Pelak, Sgt. Martin Pitrik, Sgt. Thomas A. Pizinger and Sgt. Neil D. Pulver.
Also, Sgt. Eddie A. Rojas, Sgt. David M. Roller, Sgt. Aaron M. Seabert, Sgt. Robert T. Smith, Sgt. Daniel K. Stein, Sgt. Daniel A. Steria, Sgt. Stephan C. Striewing, Sgt. Cory C. Syracuse, Sgt. Mathias A. Taddeo, Sgt. Romero N. Thorton, Sgt. Jeffrey M. Tibbits, Sgt. Tyler J. Trappe, Sgt. David K. Watson Jr., Sgt. Alapeti M. Ware, Sgt. Kyle N. Weaver, Sgt. Shanita J. Wilson and Sgt. Alexander J. Young.
Also, Spc. Matthew L. Burghardt, Spc. Keith W. Cadle, Spc. Jarrell V. Cash, Spc. Kevin R. Cocklin, Spc. Derek L. Dugos, Spc. William H. Ellis III., Spc. Joshua R. Farber, Spc. Delon C. Hope, Spc. Nace E. Houchin Jr., Spc. Shannon M. Innerarity, Spc. Ever D. Jandres, Spc. James J. Johnson and Spc. Samuel Jung.
Also, Spc. Alex Mariansky, Spc. Ryan S. Mason, Spc. Richard L. Nimmo, Spc. Gonzalo Rabago, Spc. Hugh B. Rhodes, Spc. Richard E. Roberts, Spc. Amanda L. Shull, Spc. Landon C. Waugh, Spc. Dustin T. Woods and Cpl. Christian A. Stephenson.