By Capt. Monika Comeaux
13th SC(E) PAO
KILLEEN, Texas - Maj. James C. Maker, the chief of the 1st Medical Brigade current operations cell, received the Capt. John R. Teal Leadership Award surrounded by his family at his brigade headquarters building on Fort Hood, Dec. 13.
The award recognizes medical services officers and noncommissioned officers who have made significant contributions to the medical community and displayed exceptional leadership and management skills.
The award is named after the first medical officer killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom serving with the 4th Infantry Division. Teal died from injuries he sustained on Oct. 23, 2003, near Baqubah, Iraq, after a roadside bomb detonated near his convoy. Upon his death, the Army Medical Command established the John R. Teal Award, which annually recognizes MSC officers and noncommissioned officers who have proven themselves as exceptional leaders.
“Maj. Maker is one of the best officers I have ever been associated with in my nearly 23 years of service,” said Lt. Col. Roy L. Vernon Jr., the deputy operations chief for the European Regional Command in Sembach, Germany. Vernon is also a mentor for Maker and he was the one who recommended Maker for the award. Maker was unaware of the nomination.
“I have known Maj. Maker since he was a 2nd Lt. and he served as a platoon leader for me when I was in company command,” Vernon said. Vernon also had the chance to work with and personally observe Maker’s leadership skills at Fort Hood and during their 2012 deployment to Afghanistan.
Vernon is full of complements about his prodigy.
“Maker is a caring officer who will always put the needs of his soldiers and the mission above himself,” he said. “[He] is passionate about his work as an operations officer and is always seeking self improvement.”
The former supervisor listed Maker’s dedication to mission and family, and his ability to build a team and his sense of humor also as Maker’s great strengths. Vernon also complemented Maker on having the ability to balance his professional and personal life, and making sure that he makes time for important family events.
Family and the care for his soldiers are the number one things on Maker’s list, indeed. He said he was much honored to receive the award and immediately explained that the award is to reward the accomplishment of his soldiers, leaders and family collectively.
Maker said his greatest strength is his ability to always remember that “Soldiers expect and deserve the absolute best leadership I can provide. Our collective efforts impact the lives of many … I think this helps to guide my conduct and professional expectations.”
He said he feels obligated to invest the same amount of attention and effort in his soldiers and subordinates he received as he grew up in the ranks as a medical officer.
“I was extremely humbled and honored to even be mentioned as a possible candidate. It reminded me just how fortunate I am to have benefited from the incredible guidance, mentorship and coaching I have received throughout my career from the stellar officers and NCOs I have served with,” Maker said. “My nomination is owed to their collective investment in leader development; an investment that I continue to pay forward.”
Maker also said that he shares the award with his wife and family.
“My ability to serve,” he said, “is directly attributed to the support Alison and my children provide me every day.”