Staff Sgt. Michael Behlin
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — “I wouldn’t necessarily call it advice, but my high school basketball coach, Joe Cortez, taught me a strong work ethic. He always said, ‘If you work hard and put forth your best effort, you can accomplish anything. You can’t control the talents you were given, but you can control how hard you work.’”
These are the words Chief Warrant Officer 5 Daniel Villarreal, the command chief warrant officer of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, applies daily in his Army career and towards his family.
Villarreal, an accomplished basketball player, uses the lessons learned throughout his youth, to drive himself to be a better Soldier and father. Taught to never give up and to always give your best, he seeks to create a life that he can be proud of for himself and his family. Even though things were not always perfect, he takes pride in knowing that he did his best to provide better opportunities for his children.
Born and raised in San Antonio, Villarreal grew up surrounded by friends, family and a rich Hispanic culture. He said that one of his greatest fortunes was being able to be stationed there for a period in his career.
“It’s one of the greatest cities in the world,” Villarreal said. “I was fortunate enough to be stationed there and really enjoyed my time with family and old friends. It has a rich Hispanic culture with friendly people and, most importantly, excellent Mexican food.”
While Villarreal thoroughly enjoyed his time spent in his hometown, he considers his time at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to be his favorite and most fulfilling duty assignment. As a member of the 530th Supply and Services Battalion – his first assignment as a warrant officer – Villarreal deployed for the first time as a result of the events that changed the world on Sept. 11, 2001. That deployment experience and the challenges that came with it, provided one of his proudest moments while serving in the military.
“During that deployment, our team accomplished so much with very limited resources,” he said. “The sense of pride I gained from our team’s achievement of providing outstanding support to multinational forces within Afghanistan and the entire coalition was immeasurable. A great experience I continuously look back on in awe.”
An avid basketball player, Villarreal grew up believing he would be a professional basketball player. He mentioned the way professional athletes were revered as a major attraction throughout his childhood. He credits the sport as a major contributor to his desire to learn more about becoming a leader.
“Sports taught me early on how important teamwork is to being successful as a unit. My first goal everywhere I go is to build the team,” he said. “Include everyone by giving them a meaningful role to fulfill and watch them excel. Nothing brings me more joy than watching a well-oiled machine perform.”
Originally joining the Army in 1988 as cannon crewmember (13B), Villarreal sought to provide a better life for his family. While he later changed his military occupational specialty, or MOS, to become a stock control and accounting specialist (76P), he also considered becoming a pharmacy specialist, but the timing wasn’t right. Admittedly good with numbers, Villarreal shared that he would have been an accountant, if not for joining the Army.
“I love math,” he said.
With so many varied interests he was passionate about, in the end he chose management for his bachelor’s degree concentration from the University of Maryland University College.
While things may not have always happened the way he wanted them to throughout his career, he admits to not ever thinking about quitting.
“If I start something, I have to finish,” he said. “I knew once I went to see the recruiter and joined the military, I was going to do at least 20 years.”
Fast-forward 29 years, and Chief Warrant Officer 5 Villarreal, having achieved the highest rank a warrant officer can – and one that a select few ever do –continues to enjoy watching those around him grow and succeed within the Army.
“Having a positive influence and being a role model to individuals, I have come in contact with throughout my career is the most gratifying,” said Villarreal. “Seeing them successfully progress through their careers is probably my biggest achievement and what I take the most pride in.”
A self-proclaimed “regular guy,” Villarreal loves spending time with his family. He credits hiking, watching movies and playing board games amongst their favorite activities.
He continues to stay physically and mentally fit through basketball and actively competes in the Latino Basketball Association in matches across the country. Villarreal has helped his Austin, Texas-based team win several championships, and was named the Most Valuable Player in several tournaments.
When he’s not shooting hoops or developing leadership programs for warrant officers across the Army in Hawaii, the father of six is also a huge music fan. He considers Judas Priest and Lady Gaga amongst his favorite artists, and mentioned that he would love to learn to play the guitar or piano one day.
“I marvel at music and have a great admiration for the people who can write and play,” he said.”
While he feels the role of the warrant officer has evolved over the years, Villarreal mentioned that he is aware of the old stereotypes that painted them as elusive and passing on their responsibilities. Though he feels that this no longer exists, he’s quite aware of past generalizations.
“Our warrant officers are proven professionals who are physically fit, intelligent leaders who are now called upon by leaders at all levels to take on more responsibility and are given the most demanding jobs,” he said. “I believe that a majority of our enlisted, as well as company and field grade officers, turn to our technical warrant officers first for guidance and direction.
“The running jokes and stereotypes are a way to poke fun at the most technical professionals in the Army since there is no other way to get under our skin.”
Villarreal transferred his position to Chief Warrant Officer 4 (P) Mark Parr during a Change of Responsibility Ceremony, April 6, and took part in the Celebration of Service Ceremony, April 13, at Hale Ikena, here.