News: 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade company commander to receive MacArthur leadership award
Story by Staff Sgt. April Campbell
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Capt. Nerea Cal had a lot to look forward to when she returned the company colors to her battalion commander during a change of command ceremony late last month. She would soon begin the next step in her Army career, attending graduate school in preparation to become an instructor in the social sciences department at her alma mater, the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Before embarking on this journey, however, Cal, who commanded Company C, 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division, from January 2013 to April 2014, will be one of 28 company-grade Army officers recognized with the 2013 Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award in Washington, D.C., May 29-30.
The program recognizes company-grade officers who demonstrate the ideals for which MacArthur stood – duty, honor, and country. It promotes and sustains effective junior officer leadership in the Army and is open to second lieutenants through captains and warrant officers through chief warrant officers 2.
“Capt. Cal lives up to those ideals of duty, honor and country,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Chivers, Commander, 2-82 AHB. “She’s established a winning spirit and a strong family readiness group within her company.”
For the outgoing company commander, the success of her command is the result of a team effort.
“From my perspective, this is very much a unit award,” Cal said. “I don’t do anything by myself. I’ve been so lucky. I have great Soldiers and noncommissioned officers who care about their Soldiers and provide feedback and their honest opinions.”
Cal also appreciates the many mentors and peers she has worked with throughout her time with the 82nd CAB.
“I’ve been very fortunate to work with some wonderful mentors and peers,” Cal said.
One of the mentors Cal mentioned was 82nd CAB Commander Col. Mike Musiol.
“She’s exactly the type of leader that embodies this award,” Musiol said. “She’s taken the responsibility to mentor her subordinates by taking the mentorship she has been given and paying it forward.”
Cal has welcomed the opportunity to coach her Soldiers.
“I want everyone to feel valued in what we do,” Cal said.
As a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter pilot, Cal has a unique opportunity to ensure her junior troops, such as Pfc. Michael Wise, a Black Hawk crew chief, know how important their roles are.
“I fly with Capt. Cal at least once or twice a week,” said Wise. “In the aircraft, you rely on one another regardless of rank. Our lives are in each other’s hands.”
Outside of the cockpit, Cal’s emphasis on teamwork is still apparent to her Soldiers.
“It’s motivating to see her at physical fitness training every morning with all the troops,” said Wise.
While her time in company command has come to a close and Cal will no longer have troops to lead during Friday morning runs, she hopes to continue mentoring future Army leaders as she prepares to instruct at the academy. It is there that as superintendant in 1922, Gen. Douglas MacArthur codified the Cadet Code of Conduct: ‘A cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.’
“I knew since I was a cadet that I wanted to return to West Point and teach,” Cal said. “I want to give back to what I feel was a great education with access and personal attention from my instructors.”
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