“I definitely see her going on to become a command sergeant major,” observed Kraig Weaver, a division chief in the Quartermaster School’s Aerial Delivery & Field Services Department here. “She’s definitely on track to be in the top two percent of the Army.”
The subject of Weaver’s praise is 17-year Soldier, Sgt. 1st Class Veronica Waters, ADFSD’s 2019 Employee of the Year.
“She deserves the title because she stands far above her peers, and that’s saying a lot as there are some really high-speed noncommissioned officers around here,” Weaver said. “If there’s something good going on in this department, she’s usually somewhere in the middle of it.”
Waters, NCO in charge of the Field Services Division and an instructor when needed, said she was surprised by her selection for the yearly honor that was formally announced at a Jan. 29 ceremony in the ADFSD building’s main lobby. She didn’t even consider herself a shoo-in after her leadership nominated her for, and her winning, the preceding monthly and quarterly awards.
“When I earned Drill Sergeant of the Cycle at my last duty station (Fort Sill, Okla.), I was working toward that; doing everything I could to set myself apart from peers,” Waters said. “Here, it was nothing like that. I was caught by surprise because I didn’t think about what I do as going above and beyond. I just viewed it as my obligation as a senior leader in the organization.
“I don’t go around saying, ‘Oh man, I’m awesome,’” she further observed, reiterating the point that she’s prefers not to toot her own horn. “The leadership here, however, has said it for me, and it’s a surprise and a true honor.
“Looking at it from a broader perspective, though, I think there’s a general awesomeness about everyone in the department. We have a great team here,” Waters continued. “I come here and do my job to the best of my ability, but I am able to do that because I have the best team of NCOs behind me. I have a great support system, and they helped me achieve this level.
“An example of that is when I would say, ‘I have this great idea, let’s go feed the homeless in Petersburg.’ They wouldn’t hesitate. ‘OK, let’s go. When do you want to do it?’ they would immediately respond.”
While Waters credits her team for the bestowal of employee of the year, Weaver said her community service and unceasing mentorship are among the many reasons she was chosen.
“She works with her Soldiers, helping them solve problems,” he pointed out. “She works with the community, and is genuine in her desire to be a good neighbor. She also has an excellent work ethic, and she’s tactically and technically proficient in all that she does.”
Waters attributed her work ethic to a mixture of hard-working Mexican parent influences in her younger years and caring leadership as she rose through the military enlisted ranks. She doesn’t hesitate in saying she “grew up” in the Army from basic Soldier to senior NCO.
“My parents were always pushing the point that if you’re going to do something, you do it to the best of your ability. That stayed with me my whole career,” she said. “Of course, throughout my time in the military I’ve always had great leaders who said the same thing. Being a drill sergeant for two years also helped me develop that drive. With everything you do on the trail, you have to pay attention to details, and it has to be done to the best of your ability.
“I’m also trying to set an example for my three daughters,” she added. “I want them to be strong, competent women. My kids are proud of me for being a Soldier, and so is my husband who is the backbone of our family.”
She tries to pass her best traits on to new Soldiers during their initial entry training. She does motivational talks with those aspiring to join the 92-Sierra shower and laundry specialist family like she did upon entry into the Army.
“I tell them you need to be better than me. You are our legacy, and you are going to be the next Sgt. 1st Class Waters and the next command sergeant major if you want to be. You need to work hard and have a goal to get what you want.
“Of course, I also tell them to always do their best. Even at times when they fail, they should always have the confidence that they did the work to the best of their abilities. Just know that you gave it your best shot, and if that wasn’t good enough, you dust yourself off, learn from it and go at it again.”