FORT MCCOY, Wis. - Retired Master Sgt. David Voght spent the final seven years of his 30-year military career at the Wisconsin Military Academy as an instructor and staff noncommissioned officer. The positive impact he made during that time was recognized Oct. 11 when he was inducted into the Wisconsin Military Academy Hall of Fame.
"Our tradition of excellence continues, and to meet our continuing requirements we ask for an enormous amount of dedication and commitment from our staff," explained Col. Gregory Hirsch, commander of the 426th Regiment Regional Training Institute, which is located in the Wisconsin Military Academy. "The staff must be the very best of the best, as they always have been. That is why the single most important criteria to be inducted into the Wisconsin Military Academy Hall of Fame is the contribution the individual has made to the training environment."
Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Strathmann, himself a Hall of Fame inductee in 2009, was Voght's first sergeant and command sergeant major when they both were part of the now-defunct 1st Battalion, 632nd Armor Regiment, and also at the Wisconsin Military Academy.
"True professional," Strathmann said of Voght." He lived the Army values every day of his life from the day he transferred to headquarters company of the armor regiment until the day he retired. His mentorship to the [Officer Candidate School] candidates was just phenomenal. I have never seen another Soldier do that in all the days of my career."
Col. Daniel Sailer, the officer who nominated Voght for induction, spoke highly of his time working with Voght at the Wisconsin Military Academy. Voght was the noncommissioned officer in charge of the general studies battalion - 2nd Battalion - which included the Officer Candidate School (OCS).
"One thing we teach in OCS to the new lieutenants is to make sure you make that relationship with the NCO, and that will carry you forward your entire career," Sailer said. "As the company commander, you and the first sergeant are the leadership team. Dave was that companion for me. He was one half of our leadership team for a long time."
Retired Lt. Col. Lyonel Wisnewski fondly recalled Voght's time serving in the support platoon of the armor battalion's headquarters company.
"I didn't ever have to worry that the support platoon was going to come up short on their mission," Wisnewski said. "[He] has one speed - mach two with his hair on fire.
"I don't consider myself as much having been his boss as having been a fellow Soldier who had the opportunity to see such excellence and to see him motivate his subordinates," Wisnewski continued. "He always had a positive attitude. If he had an issue, he came to you with a solution. Just the kind of NCO you want in your unit. And I know he left some of that here at the academy, in the programs he helped set up."
"He is a model of leadership, dedication and the Soldier caring ethic," Hirsch said of Voght.
Voght said he was humbled and honored to be the 53rd Hall of Fame inductee. He thanked his wife Sharon for her support and understanding during his 30-year military career, and spoke fondly and at length of his colleagues who mentored and influenced him during his time in the Wisconsin Army National Guard.
"I never saw myself really in this light," Voght said. "I looked at myself as doing my job. It was a pleasure and an honor to come here every month.
"I never took it lightly that I was here at the academy," Voght continued. "The Wisconsin Military Academy, the 426th, really is the cream of the crop. The people that come here to drill, they ought to be honored, because I certainly was. We're making a difference here. All the people that come through those doors at this academy, they walk out better Soldiers."