Standing tall above the rest, one Soldier was presented one of the Army Finance Corps’ highest honors, but reacted with the humility those around him said they’ve seen throughout his career.
The 837th Maj. Gen. Nathan Towson Medallion was presented to Sgt. Maj. Damien Russell, U.S. Army Financial Management Command Operations senior enlisted advisor, during a special ceremony at the Maj. Gen. Emmett J. Bean Federal Center in Indianapolis Aug. 26.
“I am privileged to join the previous 836 recipients, and though I stand here alone, this accomplishment was not a solo effort,” said Russell. “I want to thank the seniors, peers, Soldiers and civilians that I have been blessed to serve with over the last 25-plus years. Without their dedication, commitment and selfless service, today’s ceremony would not be possible.”
While Russell was quick to acknowledge and thank those who supported him throughout his career, Command Sgt. Maj. Kenneth Law, USAFMCOM senior enlisted advisor, was equally as quick to point out that Russell’s award was in large part to his personal efforts and dedication to his career and those around him.
“I know those who are honored with such a distinguished accomplishment is not by accident, and they will be the first to tell you that they didn’t do it by themselves. But, they did play a critical role in their success,” said Law. “Sergeant Major Russell has excelled at each level of his career in the Finance Corps.”
Such excellence started early in Russell’s career.
“As a young sergeant in 2002, he was selected by his peers and small group leader as a distinguished leadership awardee of his Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, and graduated as a superior academic excellence recipient,” recalled Law. “At the time of his class’ graduation, he was the first documented NCO to achieve and graduate with a perfect, 100 percent grade point average.”
That drive not only propelled Russell to reach one of the top enlisted ranks, but he channeled it into making those around him better.
“While assigned as a [financial management support unit] sergeant major of the 176th FMSU at Camp Humphreys, Korea…he played a vital role in culture change on the peninsula that was sorely needed at the time,” explained Law. “It was evident during the unit’s operational review where the unit’s compliance rating increased from 75 percent to 92 percent.”
Not only did he improve his units collectively, he also supported the growth and accomplishments of the individuals under him.
“Sergeant Major Russell has a profound and unique leadership style, so it was no surprise that as a FMSU sergeant major that he developed, coached, and mentored his team from Korea to compete and win both the finance corps NCO and Soldier of the Year competition in 2019,” said Law. “Sergeant Major Russell, I can truly say that I’m proud to be on your team.”
For his part, Russell said he was glad to be a part of the Finance Corps team.
“I am thankful and forever grateful for this honor that you have bestowed upon me today,” he concluded. “I am now, and forever will be, a proud finance Soldier.”
The Towson Medallion is named after Maj. Gen. Nathan Towson, who served as Paymaster General of the Army from 1819 to 1854 and shaped a Finance Corps that met the Army’s needs until the 20th century.
It was established by the Army Finance Corps Association on May 7, 1993, and is awarded in recognition of demonstrated exemplary contribution and service to the Army Finance Corps.