Illinois Guardsman Receives Award for Work in and out of Uniform PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Sgt. 1st Class Rob Fafoglia, 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment   
Wednesday, 12 June 2013 13:36

DECATUR, IL (06/12/2013)(readMedia)-- Capt. Aaron Tvrdy of Chicago recently received the Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award for the state of Illinois, an award bestowed upon the top leaders in the country.

The award recognizes company grade officers who demonstrate the ideals for which MacArthur stood for- duty, honor, and country.

"I am proud to be selected by state leadership to represent the many terrific company grade officers within the state of Illinois," said Tvrdy, the assistant engineer officer from the Illinois Army National Guard's 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in Chicago. "The Douglas MacArthur award is more than just military achievements; it incorporates community involvement and military values. I am very pleased that the effort I put into these areas of my life is appreciated by those around me."

His award justification states: "Capt. Tvrdy has separated himself as the top company commander in the 766th Engineer Battalion (Eng. Bn.) in Decatur and the 404th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade through his leadership proficiency and various remarkable accomplishments. Tvrdy is a creative, out-of-the-box thinker who introduced several unique operations into the Battalion's training schedule. The combination of excellent leadership, drive and success, along with a genuine care for others are all contributing factors which lead to Tvrdy being recommended for this prestigious award."

Those who served with and commanded Tvrdy could not agree more.

"As long as I have known Captain Tvrdy, he has striven to improve himself and those around him by hard work and determination," said Lt. Col. Craig Holan, Battalion Commander of the 766th Eng. Bn., in Decatur, Ill., a Flora, Ill., native and Tvrdy's former commander. "He has a full plate between his military and civilian careers and family, yet has always tried to be a leader in all aspects of his life. He is a natural born leader, a doer who is never satisfied with the status quo."

The MacArthur Award aims to promote and sustain effective junior officer leadership in the

Army, by recognizing those who go above and beyond. Tvrdy, served as the company commander for the Field Support Company (FSC) of the 766th, led his Soldiers to win the title of the National Guard's Top Small Modification Table of Organization and Equipment Maintenance Company. The FSC also swept the state, regional and national boards of the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence, earning the right to compete at the Department of the Army level against the Active and Reserve component winners.

Tvrdy has proven himself to be well beyond effective, according to Maj. Tim Newman, the Operations Officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Company with the 766th and a resident of Mahomet, Ill. At one time, Tvrdy served as Newman's executive officer.

"He has the ability to instill responsibility and a sense of unit pride amongst his subordinates that helps focus everyone on mission accomplishment," said Newman. "This was seen with his company winning the Army Award for Maintenance Excellence. Additionally, he gave the FSC an identitiy which the company quickly embraced. This allowed every Soldier to identify their roles and and responsibilities, thus turning the company into a well-oiled machine."

Tvrdy works as an architect and recently began establishing his own company building sustainable furntiture. He attributes much of his military success to his work on the civlian side and vice versa.

"I feel that military training greatly prepares you for being an entrepreneur; much like wanting to create the best Field Support Company, I also want to create the best sustainable furniture company," he said. "I believe my civilian skillset has greatly contributed to the success I have had in the military. In architechture, you often create something out of nothing, you are required to be creative yet organized and efficient. You need to clearly communicate a design to the team before anything is ever built."

Tvrdy does not take all the credit for the things he has accomplished. There have been many people helping him along the way, he said.

"I am very grateful to have a supportive battalion and brigade commander who trusted me enough to employ my vision of command," he said. "I believe a big part of the success I had as a company commander is that I wasn't afraid to take on challenges and I wasn't afraid to fail because I knew I had great support around me. I feel very fortunate to have commanded the best Soldiers in the state of Illinois."

Tvrdy said his family was supportive as well.

"My civilian life revolves around my family and my beautiful wife," he said. "I greatly appreciate their patience with my military commitments and they truly share in the stress of the job."

All of these accomplishments might be a highlight in the young offier's career, but he is far from finished doing great things.

"Capt. Tvrdy is well deserving of this award and honor," said Holan. "I fully expect his career to be long and can see him in any position of authority the Illinois Guard has to offer. He is a true asset to the Illinois National Guard, the 404th and the engineer corps."

Tvrdy himself doesn't know where life will take him from here, but he is excited and ready to face the challenge, he said.

"I hope to gain experience with brigade and battalion operations and would eventually love another shot at a command position," he said. "New doors seem to open at the least likely opportunities and I am excited to see where the next one takes me."

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