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Death Rider Soldier Sets The Bar For Success
by U.S. Army Sgt. Brandon Anderson - June 13, 2015

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CAMP KONOTOP, Poland -- I am an American Soldier. I am a warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values. These phrases are the core of the Creed of the American Soldier. They are one of the first things a basic combat trainee learns, and are repeated often in the hopes these words become part of the individual.

For a few Soldiers, these words take on a meaning that drives their actions on a daily basis. One such Soldier is Spc. Anthony D. Nicastro, a M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank gunner assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division.

His tank commander, Staff Sgt. Douglas Stephens said he never has to worry about Nicastro slacking off on any task assigned to him, and that he stands apart from the rest of his peers by consistently striving to step up to the plate when the need arises.

U.S. Army Spc. Anthony D. Nicastro, a M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank gunner assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, reviews the maintenance check list for his assigned tank May 21, 2015 at the Bucierz Range Complex near Camp Konotop, Poland, while supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between NATO allies. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Anderson, 13th Public Affairs Detachment)
U.S. Army Spc. Anthony D. Nicastro, a M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tank gunner assigned to Company D, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, reviews the maintenance check list for his assigned tank May 21, 2015 at the Bucierz Range Complex near Camp Konotop, Poland, while supporting Operation Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between NATO allies. (Image created by USA Patriotism! from U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Brandon Anderson)

“He does everything he knows needs to be done, and if there's something he doesn't know, he'll ask questions,” said Stephens. “He's constantly looking for ways to get better at his tasks, and takes charge without having to be directed to do so.”

His naturally upbeat personality and self-effacing humor are just some of the things his chain of command thinks makes him such a great Soldier.

“He's always got a smile on his face, and when you're around him his enthusiasm wears off on you,” said Staff Sgt. Brian Klinkiewicz, a tank commander assigned to Company D. “Wherever he goes people can't help but be affected by it.”

Being a tanker often requires long hours in a field training environment to ensure job proficiency. Soldiers get worn out towards the end of an exercise, but Nicastro's positive attitude is contagious amongst his peers.

“He brings up the morale of his Soldiers, and is always ready to accomplish his mission,” said Klinkewicz. “His mentality is incredibly motivating, so he brings everyone else along with him.”

Because of these qualities, Stephens said Nicastro has naturally taken on a greater level of responsibility more consistent of a Soldier with a higher rank.

“I think he has the potential be a good noncommissioned officer one day,” said Stephens. “He already acts like one, and because of that everyone treats him like one.”

According to Stephens, it's the things he does on regular basis that makes even his peers give him the respect he receives.

“He's very knowledgeable and confident with how he handles his job, and all the other Soldiers in the platoon see it, so they treat him with a different level of respect,” said Stephens.

In his position of tank gunner, Nicastro's daily scope of responsibilities include making sure his tank is getting the proper maintenance it requires, as well as the safety and well being of his Soldiers.

Nicastro said he just enjoys doing his job, and that's what drives him.

“I like being able to learn new things with my job,” said Nicastro. “This tank is an amazing piece of machinery that has the potential to do a lot of damage, so having the opportunity to be able to do all of these things is fun.”

He said doing his job here in Poland brings a whole different set of challenges, as the terrain and battle positions are unlike what he's used to training in at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

“Here in Poland there's a lot of berms, so I have to know when to fire and when not to,” said Nicastro. “These particular tanks are new to me, and because of that, I get know how these tanks operate differently than the ones I'm used to.”

He said being here has been beneficial for him in a cultural sense as well.

“People have been building here for a lot longer than they have in America, so when we go into town I like seeing the architecture,” said Nicastro.

Nicastro said he's looking forward to Puma 15, a joint training exercise between the Polish, French and American military.

The exercise is part of Atlantic Resolve, an ongoing multinational partnership focused on joint training and security cooperation between NATO allies.

“I'd like to get a better understanding of how different countries' militaries use their tactics compared to ours,” said Nicastro. “Having the knowledge of how these countries operate will make me a better tanker overall.”

By U.S. Army Sgt. Brandon Anderson
Provided through DVIDS
Copyright 2015

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