POUGHKEEPSIE, N.Y. - Capt. Matthew Weisner has always been part of a team and looked upon as a leader. From his days at Our Lady of Lourdes high school in Poughkeepsie, New York, to the United States Military Academy at West Point, the former offensive lineman has lead the way for many on the football field as well as the battlefield.
Weisner, the commander of Company D, 2nd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, received the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Leadership award from the Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Raymond Odierno, during a ceremony at the Pentagon May 30, 2014.
“Many of my biggest leadership lessons that I have learned came on the football field and the experiences that I had playing on the Army football team,” said Weisner. “I had the privilege of playing for some great coaches such as Bobby Ross, who was an Army officer.”
A native of East Fishkill, New York, Weisner is one of 28 Soldiers who received the award this year. The award is given annually to company-grade officers, active-duty, reserve and National Guard components, who demonstrate the ideals of duty, honor and country.
“I was truly humbled and honored to be nominated among my peers, given the amount of talented officers that I work with everyday,” Weisner said. “I have the utmost respect for my fellow company commanders, and I learn something every day by simply looking to my left and right.”
“The one advantage we maintain in our armed forces and of which I am very proud specifically, is the development of our leaders,” Odierno said, adding there is no more important job in the Army than that of a company-grade officer. “You are the individuals who are there every single day with our Soldiers, the most precious resource we have in our Army, our Soldiers.”
“I have had the true fortune of learning from some of the finest combat leaders in the Army,” Weisner said. Having the opportunity to watch and learn from Col. Michael Fenzel, commander of 3rd BCT, 82nd Abd Div., and Lt. Col. John White, commander 2nd Bn, 505th PIR, has been an incredible experience. “I’ve seen firsthand how effective positive leadership can be towards accomplishing the mission.”
“I would have failed without support of the non-commissioned officer corps,” Weisner said. “Listening and trusting the suggestions of your NCOs creates buy-in and forms a cohesive team. We had a team mentality where winning was just a given. Through constant competition we establish a level of confidence that was insurmountable.”
“Capt. Weisner epitomizes the ideals for which Gen. MacArthur stood. His tireless dedication to the Army and to the Paratroopers he leads is exactly why I nominated Matt for this award,” said White. “His continuous desire to never stop growing and improving himself or the organization he is assigned, sets the example for others to follow.”
Weisner, who has deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan, is one of only 677 Soldier’s to receive this award over the past 27 years.
Col. Fenzel once said the majority of the way that you lead, is the way that you were raised and I think that holds true, said Weisner.
“I was very lucky to have had a father that held me to an extremely high standard and a mother that was always very loving and supportive at the same time,” said Weisner. “I had a good balance in my upbringing, and I’m just happy that I was able to make my family proud.”