honors first-ever Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year
Post, Fort Bragg Soldiers to receive honors at Green Dragon Ball
Story by Jay Howard/Guidon
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (TRADOC News Service, June 16, 2005) – Two Soldiers will be awarded the first-ever Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Soldier of the Year for the Chemical Corps at Davidson Fitness Center during the Green Dragon Ball June 29.
Chemical units were allowed to recommend one Soldier and one NCO to represent them in the competition. Thirty-two were reviewed before final decisions were reached.
The first recipient of the SOY award is Pfc. Marcos Silva, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 84th Chemical Battalion. The first honoree NCOY award goes to Staff Sgt. Travis Dauer, 21st Chemical Company (Airborne), Division Support Command, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.
“The competition started as a concept that would bring a representative from chemical units to Fort Leonard Wood, where they would compete in several events over a one-week period and put their skills and knowledge to the test,” said Master Sgt. Joseph Baker, Chemical School operations noncommissioned officer-in-charge.
Staff Sgt. Travis Dauer
Dauer, 26, was born in Shreveport, La. He enlisted in the Army in May 2000. He attended one-station unit training at Fort Leonard Wood. After graduating as the distinguished honor graduate, he completed Basic Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga.
Winning awards is nothing new to Dauer. While serving with 21st Chem. Co., he competed in and won many boards and competitions, including the 82nd Abn. Div. paratrooper of the month and driver of the quarter.
As a corporal, Dauer attended Jumpmaster School and was selected as the honor graduate of his class. He has 55 hours of college credit and 1,400 hours of Army correspondence courses.
Dauer said he plans to make the Army a career. While he is in, he would like to earn a degree in criminal justice.
While attached to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, as the nuclear, biological, and chemical NCO in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, he was selected as the Combined Task force NCO of the Month for March 2003 and was also inducted into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.
Dauer currently serves as a smoke and decontamination squad leader. He was selected as the DISCOM 2005 Jumpmaster of the Year and runner-up for the 82nd Abn. Div. Jumpmaster of the Year.
Dauer was assigned to Charlie Company, 2nd Battalion, 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment when he deployed to Iraq. While there, he participated in more than 90 day and night combat patrols that nearly eliminated enemy activity in his company’s sector. He also served as the Company NBC NCO and the company motor sergeant.
In Iraq, Dauer fully realized the importance of his training. “We train in garrison as we would in war. If you don’t understand why we do this, all your questions will be answered once you get over there. My training was definitely put to the test on a daily basis, and that experience without question makes you a better Soldier and leader.”
Dauer credits his success to his past and present leadership.
“This is an honor to me because I know now there are a lot of outstanding NCOs in the Chemical Corps, and to be even in the running for this award with them is an honor in itself,” Dauer said. “In my short career in the Army I have been blessed with outstanding leadership. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it were not for their hard work and dedication as NCOs. (It’s) definitely a lot to live up to.”
His short-term goal is to become a drill sergeant. “I think in that position you have a chance to mold civilians into highly motivated and dedicated Soldiers,” he said.
Dauer’s wife, Grace, is also on active duty at Fort Bragg. She is a topographic analyst.
Pfc. Marcos Silva
Silva, 25, the new SOY, a chemical operations specialist, is also extremely proud of his accomplishments.
“This award means a lot to me personally,” Silva said. “I’ve always thought of the Chemical Corps as a ‘big family.’ I think people will look at me differently and expect more from me, which is a good thing. I am very proud to receive such a prestigious award.”
Silva’s previous assignments include serving as a smoke/decontamination specialist in the 59th Chemical Company at Fort Drum, N.Y. He now serves as the Webmaster for the Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 84th Chemical Battalion.
“I sent an e-mail to the Chem School Website one day explaining the technology I could bring to them to enhance the training in advanced individual training and how it could help thousands of Soldiers throughout the world, and they took me up on it," he said. "The next thing I knew, I was at Fort Leonard Wood, rebuilding the Website.”
Born is Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, he originally came here to find a good school and job. “I would like to thank everyone who supports me in the Chemical School and my family back in Rio De Janeiro,” he said.
Silva said would like to dedicate this special moment of his life to those Soldiers “out there” working and fighting for the United States.
Both award winners found the written test – as part of the competition – to be the most challenging part of the competition. Particularly Silva, as English is his second language.
“I really had to concentrate on understanding what the questions meant,” Silva said.
The on-line test questioned their knowledge in areas from basic Soldier skills to chemical knowledge. The test was designed to determine their knowledge commensurate with their rank.
The contenders were evaluated on other criteria, too. Each competition had to submit a packet which included a complete Common Task Test performance sheet, an Army Physical fitness Test scorecard, a weapons qualification score and a biography of the Soldier. Failure in any one event would remove the Soldier from the competition, Baker said.
Dauer and Silva will receive a bust of retired Command Sgt. Maj. George Murray. The Chemical Corps Regimental Association, in conjunction with the regimental command sergeant major, decided that would be fitting for the winners because of what Murray means to the corps.
The CCRA then had an artist commissioned to create the bust.
Murray entered the military in 1937. He is a Pearl Harbor survivor and fought in the Battle of the Bulge. He was the first honorary regimental command sergeant major and today serves in an emeritus capacity.
Murray played a key role in getting the Chemical Corps Museum established, which continues to mentor all chemical Soldiers who visit Fort Leonard Wood.
The winners will also receive coins of excellence from the commandant and the RCSM, an Army Commendation Medal and a set of dress blues.
Staff Sgt. Travis Dauer of the 82nd Airborne Division's 21st Chemical Company (Airborne) conducts preventive maintenance on an M-56 smoke generator. Dauer is checking for fog oil leaks around the fuel containers of the generators.