Fort Drum Soldiers, Family Members and Civilians gathered Tuesday at the Multipurpose Auditorium to recognize the graduates of the Warrior Leader Course — a program that teaches Soldiers the military skills they need as noncommissioned officers to lead their troops
Guest speaker Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey L. Dunkelberger, commandant of the Fort Drum Noncommissioned Officers Academy, encouraged the graduates of Class 07-14 to take the responsibility of leadership seriously.
“Today is the first day of the rest of your life and (of) your military career,” he said. “You, in striving for excellence, take on the role of a leader.
“Leadership is action, not a position,” he continued. “Failure to act and show action is a failure of leadership. Right or wrong, popular or unpopular, you must make decisions and show action.”
Dunkelberger said that his father had once shared with him three keys to success.
“Stay motivated, do what you’re told and strive for excellence in everything you do,” he said.
“Motivation is imperative whether you are doing a small trivial detail or the largest and most important of tasks. To be a good leader you must first be a good follower. In doing (so), you will have the perspective and the empathy to understand what it is like to follow the orders that you may give in the future. By setting your goals and sights high, if you trip and fall, you will surely still be successful in accomplishing the mission or task at hand.”
Dunkelberger congratulated the Soldiers and Family Members on achieving this milestone, and he wished them the best as they continue in their military careers and lives.
After concluding his remarks, Dunkelberger assisted the WLC staff in recognizing each graduate.
Sgt. Alexander S. Ruggiero, 6th Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment, 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, was named Distinguished Honor Graduate for the cycle.
Spc. Kregg L. Schaen, 10th Bri-gade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, received the Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti Leadership Award.
Sgt. Nathaniel Q. Oncea, 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, was named Iron Warrior.
Spc. Jounell N. Bennett, U.S. Army Dental Activity, was named Commandant’s Inspection Winner.
Staff Sgt. Rineko Tomsin was named Instructor of the Cycle.
The following Soldiers were named to the Commandant’s List for the cycle: Sgt. Eric W. Francke, Ruggiero, Sgt. Russell J. Tuttle III, Spc. James J. Baxter, Spc. Andrew M. Coglio, Spc. Eric A. Diluzio, Spc. Bradley P. Labuga, Spc. Christopher A. McCann, Spc. Miguel A. Mendez, Spc. Benjamin E. Murphy, Spc. Benjamin G. Osypiewski, Spc. Steven J. Plummer, Spc. Cole C. Ryon and Schaen.
The following Soldiers were named to the Top Squad for the cycle: Francke, Ruggiero, Sgt. Mackenzie W. Wyman, Spc. Jason T. Kunkle, Labuga, Spc. David J. Peets, Plummer and Spc. John R. Ruiz.
The following Soldiers also graduated the Warrior Leader Course: Sgt. Derrick K. Anderson, Sgt. James J. Baxter, Sgt. John H. Berry, Sgt. Donald V. Buchanan, Sgt. Joseph D. Bussell, Sgt. Shad L. Cricks, Sgt. Christopher L. Jeffery, Sgt. Cody Ugalde, Sgt. Michael J. Vega and Cpl. Wayne D. Ennis.
Also, Spc. William C. Backes II, Spc. Brianna S. Bailey-Stephens, Spc. Jared S. Beach, Spc. Jeffery T. Bender, Spc. Jounell Bennett, Spc. Robert E. Byrd, Spc. Carlos V. Castro, Spc. Bryan T. Christmon, Spc. Anthony M. Clawson, Spc. Sean D. Crowe, Spc. Phillip G. Derry, Spc. Gigi I.J. Disasi, Spc. Ebele A. Ebele, Spc. Nicholas P. Erdmann, Spc. Bria V. Feathers, Spc. Julio A. Garcia, Spc. Dameion D. Govan, Spc. Ladislad Gutierrez, Spc. Theowell S. Hamilton, Spc. Lloyd G. Hanley, Spc. Jackson E. Haskell, Spc. Camaron D. Hollis, Spc. Johnathan B. Horton, Spc. Stephan R. Hudson and Spc. Janet L. Ivey.
Also, Spc. Brittany C. Jackson, Spc. Tyrus T. Jenkins, Spc. Trae R. Jones, Spc. Stephen W. Keams, Spc. Sean D. Kelly, Spc. James M. Kish Jr., Spc. Taurus D. Liddell, Spc. Victor M. Martinez Jr., Spc. Robert C. McAlister, Spc. Genesis R. Miller, Spc. Alejandra Oliva, Spc. Angel Osorio, Spc. Andrew R. Piper, Spc. Norberto Rodriguez, Spc. Matthew W. Romano, Spc. Celeste L. Rollins, Spc. John R. Ruiz, Spc. Brandon J. Sampson, Spc. Daniel Sanchez, Spc. George A. Santiago, Spc. Daniel B. Seales, Spc. Jared R. Seaman, Spc. Michael P. Todd, Spc. Yvette D. William and Spc. James L. Yarber.