NEWS | Nov. 5, 2020

Recipient of 2020 General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award reflects on family, teamwork

By Marc Ayalin 311th Signal Command (Theater)

“You have to really care and recognize your family and your Soldiers, work as hard or harder, and remember that everything is possible through teamwork,” said Capt. Francis Rivera, logistics officer, G-4, 311th Signal Command (Theater).

He was among the 28 company grade officers across the entire Army that received the General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award in Washington, D.C., from the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army, Gen. James McConville, Oct. 21, 2020.

This award recognizes company grade officers who demonstrate the ideals for which General MacArthur stood - duty, honor, and country. The award promotes and sustains effective junior officer leadership in the Army. The 28 company-grade Active, Reserve and National Guard Officers are selected through a boarding process for this honor (14 Active Duty Officers/Warrant Officers, 7 Army National Guard Officers/Warrant Officers and 7 Army Reserve Officers/Warrant Officers).

For Rivera, having received this award was about being part of a great team.

“I feel humbled but I was just part of a team of hard workers,” Rivera said. “Therefore, I feel this award honors my family and the Army personnel who helped me throughout my career in multiple ways.”

According to Rivera, much of the efforts that contributed to having earned the award took place between the years of 2018-2019. At that time, the Army Reserve focused on ramping up all levels of readiness under the Ready Force campaign. For Rivera’s team, that meant multiple changes in the organization and lots of real-world missions and validation exercises to meet his unit’s responsibilities.

“During that time, we lost our battalion commander to higher responsibilities, however, our team continued to succeed and set standards and records in the way the Deployment Support Command supports the Surface Deployment and Distribution Command and other inter-agencies to deploy the Brigade Combat Teams from Fort-to-Port and support the Department of Defense strategic plans,” Rivera said.

With respect to leadership in general, Rivera’s advice for fellow company-grade officers and below leans toward teamwork and self-improvement for a better Army.

“I would say, be present, face your current challenges whatever they are, and find ways to make the Army a better organization; the recognitions will eventually come in the least expected ways,” Rivera said. “Continue to do your best in your current assignment and look for ways to improve your organization. Educate yourself and others so we all can better serve the Army and our country.”