A Wisconsin Army National Guard officer was among just 30 officers across the Army to receive the prestigious General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award for 2019.
Capt. Cody Anderson, the commander of Plymouth-based B Battery, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, joined the prestigious ranks of MacArthur Award recipients, an award presented annually to outstanding company grade officers who demonstrate the ideals of duty, honor, and country.
Officers in the ranks of warrant officer 1, warrant officer 2, second lieutenant, first lieutenant, captain across all components of the Army are eligible for the award.
“I am very humbled to be selected for this award, and I am glad to represent Wisconsin and the field artillery as an awardee,” Anderson, a Grafton resident, said. “There are a series of plaques hanging in the MacArthur wing of the Pentagon with the names of previous award winners. Wisconsin is frequently represented and I am glad to be the most recent officer to share in that honor.”
Anderson joins a number of other Wisconsin Army National Guard recipients of the MacArthur Award in recent years. The award program was introduced in 1987 to recognize company grade officers who have a proven record of extraordinary performance, leadership, and achievement.
Anderson, who recently returned from an overseas deployment with the 121st on which he commanded troops in five locations across two countries, was quick to credit those around him for helping him succeed and emerge as an up and coming leader in the organization.
“I cannot say enough about the tremendous Soldiers I have been able to work with and the mentors that have helped me throughout my career,” he said. “It is a privilege to work in a profession that places so much emphasis on growth and development. I can easily state that I am a better person today than I was when I joined the Wisconsin Army National Guard over 10 years ago. That is a direct result of the leaders, peers and Soldiers that I have served with.”
That organizational support and leadership was on display when Anderson travelled to Washington D.C. in June to accept the award in a ceremony at the Pentagon, where both his brigade commander and the Wisconsin Army National Guard chief of staff travelled to show their support.
He also credited his wife and children as well as strong mentors for helping him succeed in the military.
“A strong family makes everything else much easier,” he said. “On the military side I would say the entire Wisconsin field artillery community. The Soldiers, NCOs and officers of the 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery, and 426th Regional Training Institute are an extension of my family.”
He specifically pointed out Maj. Daniel Hendershot, the incoming commander of the 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, for mentoring him continuously since he was a second lieutenant.
Those influences guide Anderson’s leadership philosophy, which he said is based on a strong work ethic, strong moral compass, and strong communication.
He said his top priorities are to be a good husband, a good father, and then a good Soldier, and he works to help his Soldiers find balance between their military lives and their family or personal time.
His leadership helped pave the way for a dynamic and highly successful mission for the 121st over the past year, when the entire battalion deployed to 15 locations across six countries, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates to deliver high-mobility artillery rocket system fire support to coalition troops in the region.
“Commanding troops in five locations across two countries while balancing partner nation training missions with combat operations was full of challenges and incredibly fulfilling,” he said of his battery’s mission. “My first sergeant and I regularly underscored the importance of strong moral conduct from our troops, which served as the baseline of operations.
“Communication was difficult at times, but the relationships forged through normal drills and pre-mobilization allowed a significant level of trust between the battery and platoon levels,” Anderson added. “That trust paired with the technical expertise cultivated by NCOs led to the destruction of enemy forces and the enrichment of allied relationships.”
Anderson and the rest of the 121st returned to Wisconsin in late May after a successful mission.