Port Arthur native earns prestigious Army competition award

Published 12:48 am Saturday, July 30, 2022

As a senior in a San Antonio high school, Joshua Macias realized he had a unique ability to unite people for a common cause.

Born in Port Arthur, Macias grew up in Nederland before moving to San Antonio at 8 years old. In his final year of high school, a teacher saw potential in Macias and proposed starting a math team to go to University Interscholastic League competitions.

“The high school I went to was pretty underfunded and we didn’t have a lot of the resources that other schools did. We didn’t have the resources for UIL academic teams,” he said. “My calculus teacher approached me and said he wanted to start a math team to compete. At that point, I had nothing to lose and knew that math was my strongest subject… That first year, we took them to the regional competition in Austin and placed second for that.”

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The team hosted multiple fundraisers to make the trip possible.

“That is when I knew I could use my skills and abilities to influence people in a good way,” he said. “That was the first time that had solidified for me.”

After high school, Macias attended University of Texas at San Antonio for a year and studied kinesiology.

“After my first year, I did some reflection and wondered if what I was pursuing was going to pay dividends,” he said. “I didn’t want to continue getting into debt. When I left college I got a certification for personal training. From there, I landed a job at Powerhouse Gym in Port Neches.”

Once again Macias was faced with another potential life-altering decision. He felt like he was just working to pay bills and wanted to find a way to not only break that cycle, but also find more purpose for his life.

Joshua Macias was recently named Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year for his leadership during the III Corps best squad competition. (Courtesy Photo)

“Personal training was very fun and very fulfilling,” he said. “I didn’t really feel challenged and I wanted something where I could use my leadership skills a little more… I just wanted something difficult, something emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually difficult.”

At 22 years old, Macias enlisted in the Army and joined the 2nd Squadron in the 3rd Cavalry Regiment, where he is now a non-commissioned officer (NCO) and using his natural leadership skills.

Macias and his team recently competed in the III Corps best squad competition this year.

“The competition usually starts at a unit-specific level and works its way up,” Macias said. “…The competition was a weeklong assessment of not just our physical ability, but also our reaction and response to different situations. One lane was completely medical stuff. One lane was communication and another was weapons and tactical stuff. We also had a chemical lane… Each of those lanes were assessing us on basic soldier tasks.”

While his team finished in third place, Macias was recognized as the best NCO in the entire Corps.

“It was a pleasant surprise,” he said. “I wasn’t out there trying to win NCO of the Year. We were trying to win. My focus was on my team. It was super hot, so my focus was on my team, making sure they were staying hydrated and maintaining accountability of our equipment.”

Macias will go to selection for Special Forces in October.

“It is a 21-day selection and assessment process in Fort Bragg,” he said. “If I get selected, I am going to have to reenlist, which I was planning on doing anyways. I will use the remainder of this contract and next contract to finish my degree and then commission and become an officer.”