When Sgt. Brett Turnbough acts, others follow.
Turnbough, 37, carried himself beyond his rank and served as a leader of peers during a recent series of missions, Col. Charles Bonasera, a National Guard commander, wrote in nominating Turnbough for Army Times Soldier of the Year.
First, Turnbough volunteered to deploy on a pre-deployment exercise in which he ensured day-to-day aviation readiness. He was awarded an Army Commendation Medal for his actions.
On another mission, Turnbough, of Birmingham, Ala., voluntarily corrected deficiencies cited on an aviation inspection. In one case, he raised “petroleum readiness” from 11 percent to 87 percent, Capt. David Goodall, his supervisor, wrote to Army Times. Those actions earned Turnbough an Army Achievement Medal. Turnbough, who has no computer background, identified problems with a computer system used to track the unit’s helicopter maintenance levels, doggedly studied its software and fixed the problems, Goodall wrote. Turnbough’s command sergeant major, Wiley Russell, described the work as “inspiring.” Turnbough is a Warrior Leader Course graduate and former aviation corporal, a rare honor. Turnbough joined the Guard after 9/11 because he wanted to serve his country — and it shows, Goodall wrote.
“He is always there when the unit needs him and always puts the unit first.”
Seda, 37, helps injured and ill soldiers through long-term medical treatment. He ensures they attend appointments and receive pay, benefits and awards, and he arranges housing and transportation for their families, Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Nelson, his platoon sergeant, wrote nominating Seda for Army Times Soldier of the Year.Seda’s ability to empathize with wounded soldiers and motivate them to achieve goals inspired a unit motto, “Everyone can do something,” said co-worker and nurse Rebecca Conner in her nomination. In that spirit, Seda, of Carolina, Puerto Rico, organized an adaptive sports program through U.S. Paralympics and has helped soldiers prepare for the Warrior Games. His selflessness continues off duty. He flies around the U.S. helping soldiers move into new homes, wrote co-worker Staff Sgt. Dierre Oliver. An honor graduate of the Advanced Leadership Course, Seda launched Heroes in the Community in Fairbanks, Alaska, so soldiers could learn the meaning of “giving back.” The volunteer program has spent more than 1,000 hours helping youth sports, the Nation Kidney Foundation and the homeless. “I can honestly say that I have not met, during my 15 years on active duty, a more knowledgeable and self-sacrificing leader,” Nelson wrote.