By Staff Sgt. Astrid N. Lopez
The Under Secretary of the Army and Master Sgt. Caban, at the Pentagon Ceremony on June 19th, 2012.
As we celebrate Columbus Day and enjoy this long weekend, I will also like to celebrate, one year, in over a 20 years career for a great Soldier, Master Sgt. Arnaldo Caban-Cruz.
Master Sgt. Caban, was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in Moca, Puerto Rico. He joined the Army in 1991 and for the last two years has been part of the Army Reserve Careers Division (ARCD) as an Army Reserve Career Counselor (ARCC), just recently with the 3rd Battalion, but until July 2012, it was with 5th Battalion, Area 5, in Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico.
Master Sgt. Caban went to Washington, DC and participated in a ceremony at the Pentagon were Recruiters and Career Counselors from the Active Army, Army Reserve and National Guard, were recognized by the Under Secretary of the Army, the Honorable (Dr.) Joseph W. Westphal.
This recognition occurred in June 2012, from the 17th until the 20th. The 17th was their travel day and on the 18th the awardees were given a tour of the Pentagon, Master Sgt. Caban exclaimed: “It was impressive…once inside the building it felt like if you were in a city!”. That same afternoon they were taken to different DC sites. The actual ceremony was conducted on June 19th, 2012, and it was at the Pentagon’s Hall of Heroes. “It was truly an honor to be recognized by the Under Secretary of the Army, Honorable John W. Westphal, and it was even a greater feeling to have the Command Sergeant Major for ARCD, Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Connie F. Commenia, the Sergeant Major from my Battalion, Sgt. Maj. James A. Wallace, and my Area Leader, Master Sgt. Madeline Santiago there with me at the ceremony, while I’m being recognized” As Master Sgt. Caban was talking it was easy to feel his emotion and see how excited and honored he truly felt.
It was a great year for Master Sgt. Caban; he was nominated to participate in the Battalion (5th Battalion, ARCD) Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year Board held in Orlando, Florida. “It was different from my previous experiences competing on a board…taking it a step further, because they not only test you in your soldiering knowledge, but also, your knowledge as an Army Reserve Career Counselor as well” Master Sgt. Caban explained.
“The tests and questions regarding Army Regulations and policies were not as challenging as the written essay”, he said, “because the topic of the written essay was unknown until the moment you are sitting down in the classroom with pencil and paper”. The winner was announced on July 15th, 2011. “It was truly an honor to have won the competition, and knowing that I was going to be representing the 5th Battalion against the best, from other Battalions, was a challenge that I took with great pride” he said, after being announced the winner.
He then went on to participate in the Secretary of the Army, Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year Board, Fiscal Year 2011, at Fort Benning, Georgia, against twelve other Career Counselors. This competition lasted several days; about this competition he said “It was a little bit more intense…and there were several mystery events”. The fact that the competitors never knew how well they did after each event, made it even more difficult on them. “We had to concentrate even more and just think about our next event”, he continued, “Regardless of how you felt you did on a particular test or event, you had to put it behind you and concentrate on the next one, that to me was the key during the competition”. This competition included events like Land Navigation, Warrior Tasks, and Army Physical Fitness Test, among others.
On September 23rd, 2011 he won again, and became the Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year. “This has been a great experience for me, I feel that these competitions have made me a more…well rounded Soldier and I encourage every Army Reserve Career Counselor who has not had the opportunity to compete yet, to try and do so in the future. I’m also very thankful for having the opportunity to represent myself, my Area and my Battalion to the best of my ability.”
At the same time that this competition was happening, Master Sgt. Caban, was also participating in the Promotion Board. So while being physically and mentally challenged in the Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year Board, his Promotion Packet was also competing, and again he was selected for promotion.
His peers celebrated his success by conducting a Promotion Ceremony at Ft. Buchanan, Puerto Rico, on January 19th, 2012. Our Battalion Commander Lieutenant Colonel Thomas E. Bartow and Sgt. Maj. Wallace were part of the Ceremony and also many of his peers.
As we can see it has been a great year for Master Sgt. Caban, whom recently changed his primary station and was transferred to Ft. Meade, Maryland on July 16th, 2012. He is now the Area Leader for Area 6, of the 3rd Battalion, ARCD.
Congratulations to him for his success and performance. We thank you for your service and for being all that you can be, so that we remain Army Strong.