CAMP HUMPHREYS, SOUTH KOREA
Story by Kenji Thuloweit
Duty, honor and country. Those were the ideals that General of the Army Douglas MacArthur stood for and Eighth Army sees the general’s legacy alive and well in Capt. Kirk Proctor and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Andrew Welch. The two were selected as Eighth Army’s nominees for the prestigious General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award in a ceremony at Camp Humphreys, South Korea, Nov. 23.
The award is presented annually to an outstanding captain or warrant officer two in the U.S. Army.
Nine finalists were selected from units across the Korean peninsula after being nominated by their commanders and then facing a selection board where their military expertise and bearing were assessed.
In the end, a board of leaders selected Proctor and Welch as best of the best for Eighth Army.
Procter is commander of the 563rd Medical Company – Logistics, 65th Medical Brigade. The unit receives, manages and stores all the medical material and equipment to sustain the readiness for U.S. Forces Korea. He said he is humbled to be one of the Eighth Army nominees and attributes his selection to his Soldiers.
“General Douglas MacArthur’s three words — duty, honor, country — that can be defined as what you ought to be, what you can be, and what you will be,” said Proctor. “The Soldiers in my organization reflect that and prove that every day. This award was given to me, but this is a reflection of all their hard work and the potential they have as Soldiers.”
Welch also said he is humbled by being selected and notes his Soldiers, local Korean employees and his family for the support they’ve given him. The chief warrant officer serves as the food advisor for the 541st Quartermaster Company, the field feeding company for 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. He helps oversee the operation, training and logistics of five garrison dining facilities along with supplying field feeding operations to assigned units.
“I’m that warrant officer that is side by side with the Soldiers in dining facilities, training them; no task is too small or too big,” Welch said. “I make sure they’re comfortable and confident in their mission, trying to be that steady thing for Soldiers of all ranks — from commanding officers down to the privates. I try to give them a sense of comfort to know that the food program is being taken care of and we’re stewarding the profession properly.”
Welch added, that from a professional perspective, being able to work with local nationals on a day-to-day basis in dining facilities is a reward in itself.
“We’re one of the few (military operational specialties) that are truly hand-in-hand working with them day to day.”
Welch said he also thanks his family for understanding that the Army may demand a little more time than a regular job requires and without them he’s “just another guy.”
Both Proctor and Welch received a certificate of achievement, the Army Achievement Medal, a personalized copy of a General MacArthur DVD and the Eighth Army commander’s coin presented personally by Lt. Gen. Bill Burleson, Eighth Army commanding general.
The two will represent Eighth Army at the U.S. Army Pacific level competition for the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award.
Nominees from USARPAC will then compete at the Dept. of the Army level with the ultimate winner presented at the Pentagon later.
Proctor hails from Houston, Texas, and Welch claims Lincoln, Maine, as his hometown.
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