JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
In the heat of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, Spc. Sean Doyle, U.S. Army South geospatial engineer with the 512th Engineer Detachment, donned his Mission Oriented Protective Posture gear at the chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear lane during the Army Futures Command Best Squad Competition.
“I only had a week to prepare, so when they announced my name as the winner I was pretty shocked but also very honored,” Doyle said. “I did the best that I thought I could do and was happy knowing that our team gave it our all on the field.”
Doyle was born March 24, 1999, in Little Rock, Arkansas. where he was raised by his single mother.
“My father was around every once in a while, but as I grew older, he just kind of faded out,” Doyle said. “My mom was always making sure I was okay and had food on the table, but we were definitely struggling at times.”
Doyle’s mother worked what jobs she could find to provide for him. Her work ethic was noticed by Doyle and helped shape the principles he would live by.
She met Doyle’s soon-to-be step-father while working at the Pulaski County Assessor's Office, who would help mold Doyle into the man he is today.
“My stepdad showed me how to be a gentleman,” he claimed. “He also prepared me for life by teaching me things like how to change the oil in a car and teaching me to shoot and hunt.”
Doyle has wanted to be in the Army since he was a little boy in order to serve his country, be part of something bigger than himself and follow in the footsteps of several of his family members.
“I have always wanted to be in the military and it’s always been the Army for me,” Doyle said. “I had an uncle, a great uncle and a great grandfather who have served either in the Army or Air Force. I started talking to Army recruiters my junior year of high school.”
Doyle enlisted immediately following his high school graduation in June 2018 at 18 years old as a 12Y geospatial engineer and was assigned to III Armored Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, as his first duty station.
Four months after arriving at Fort Hood, Doyle deployed to Baghdad, Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve from August 2019 until March 2020. It was his first time leaving the United States.
“Getting deployed was a very interesting experience and definitely a culture shock,” he mentioned. “We were there with NATO forces so I got to meet military members from Italy, Spain, Great Britain, France, Canada and some others, so I got to learn about different lifestyles, different points of view and different aspects of life. It was definitely an eye-opener to the fact that there is a lot more to this world than just what's back home.”
Doyle sought out mentorship after he got back home from deployment and found Army Reservist, Sgt. Joshua Craig, while he was on active orders with III Armored Corps. Craig said Doyle was a quiet but motivated Soldier who was dedicated to mastering his craft to be a contributing member of his unit.
“As a person, you will find no better friend than Doyle,” Craig said. “As a Soldier, he is tenacious, ready to get the job done with a desire to be productive with his time. If he was helping others he would never complain, no matter how hard the task was.”
Craig, as Doyle’s supervisor and mentor, even learned lessons from his mentee.
“Even as a sergeant, he often reminded me through his actions that the fighting spirit of a Soldier can be found in everyone,” Craig said. “Like anyone else, he has had his setbacks, but he always chose to rise to the challenge. I wouldn’t describe our relationship as mentor-mentee, rather an iron sharpens iron bond.”
After his time at Fort Hood, Doyle had a permanent change of station in February 2022 to Army South with the 512th Engineer Detachment.
“Right after I got here, my first line supervisor told me he wanted me to compete in the Best Squad Competition,” said Doyle. “After that, there was radio silence about the competition as they chose someone else and put me on as an alternate.”
With only six days until the competition, one of the U.S. Army South squad members contracted COVID-19 and was unable to compete. Doyle was placed on the team and did everything he could to prepare for the various events and trials they would experience with such short notice.
Competitors participated in the Army Combat Fitness Test, an M4 carbine qualification range, evaluations of warrior tasks and battle drills, and several other events at Camp Bullis, Texas. The competition concluded with an evaluation board at the AFC headquarters in Austin, Texas.
Staff Sgt. Raycel Dasher, Army South G3 Operations noncommissioned officer and Army South squad leader for the AFC Best Squad competition said he had high expectations for Doyle and the team.
“I had high expectations because [the squad] was motivated from the moment I met them,” remarked Dasher. “Before starting the lanes during the competition, [Doyle] would ask to go over possible scenarios with the squad so we were prepared for whatever we encountered. He performed great and kept the team motivated.”
Doyle said the experience made him a better Soldier and made him want to progress more as a leader and as a geospatial engineer.
“It definitely had its challenges and its moments first, but our hard work definitely paid off,” Doyle said. “Moving forward, I definitely want to train and teach Soldiers to better the Army and my career field. My advice for other Soldiers looking to compete in Best Squad Competition is to stay motivated, push through and study Army doctrine and regulations.”