As an objective and fair news organization, Duffel Blog always strives to convey not only the truth, but also an image in keeping with high journalistic standards — one not tarnished by favoritism toward a certain branch of service or specific military member.
However, the Editorial Board feels strongly that we must honor the service and sacrifice of one such soldier, and it is with great pleasure that we can announce Lt. Col. Jeffrey Sinclair as our 2014 "Soldier of the Year."
Not many soldiers achieve the rank of lieutenant colonel at his age and years of service. It's a sign of his particular devotion to a code of conduct that most ordinary people no longer understand. He is the kind of anachronism that only the Army can produce.
Sinclair is a man more concerned with following his beliefs than with what civilians might think about them. When he sets his mind on an objective he goes and gets it with conspicuous disregard for personal risk or consequences. Where others see a red line, Sinclair sees a challenge. If someone tells him it's time to stop — please, please, do not go any further, I'm begging you — he just goes at it that much harder.
Throughout his storied career, Lt. Col. Sinclair has been told "No, you can't do this," and he has always responded with "Yes, we can!"
And he follows through: He goes and does it, not just once, but several times. He doesn't know even know how to stop, and as his record shows, he doesn't even know the meaning of "No."
His relentlessness is the stuff of legends. He has no use for a rule or a regulation that tells him not to achieve his objective.
While some of his subordinates may have cursed his single-mindedness, in the end, they always wind up going along. Some — like hostages to soldierly virtues — even grow to like it.
And that is the best, final legacy of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Sinclair: The ripples of his leadership will be felt throughout the Army for many years. Many young officers have learned at his knee, and some will emulate his methods and teach other generations that when weak-willed people say "no," the strong press on, pounding all the way.
If the essence of combat is breaking your opponent, sapping the will to fight or resist, then Jeff Sinclair is the quintessential combatant. If anything, this award doesn't go far enough. But it's hardly surprising to many veterans that the Army is sometimes slow to properly acknowledge or reward this type of soldier, this type of leader, this type of man.
Duffel Blog congratulates Lt. Col. Sinclair on his new, richly-deserved rank, and commends him as our Soldier of the Year.