Soldiers experience elevation, desert climate while competing for NCO, Soldier of the Year

| July 2, 2010 | 0 Comments

Liana Mayo
311th Signal Command Public Affairs 

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. — Two Soldiers from the 30th Signal Battalion, 311th Sig. Command, competed in the Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Army Sig. Cmd.’s NCO and Soldier of the Year competitions, here, June 14-18.

Spc. Dustin Higgins, system administrator, U.S. Army-Pacific Area Control Center and 30th Sig. Bn., Schofield Barracks, and Sgt. LeMarquis Jackson, shop foreman/maintenance NCO for the 30th Sig. Bn.’s Communications Security Logistics Support Unit, Hickam Air Force Base, competed for the titles.

“While the intensity of the competition inspires us as Soldiers, the higher elevation here provides an added challenge,” Jackson said. “It is a chemical equation; while we have the energy to perform the warrior tasks, the lack of oxygen inhibits us from producing the output that we are accustomed to. It’s an interesting combination: rejuvenation of spirit and breakdown of body.”

While the dry desert heat soared above 100 degrees, competitors charged through five scored events: the Army Physical Fitness Test, M-16A2 rifle qualification, day and night land navigation, a written examination and submission of two written essays, and an appearance in front of a panel of senior enlisted Soldiers.

Each event counted for a specific number of points, with 500 being the maximum number of points a Soldier could score in the competition. 

“In anticipation of the elevation change, we went on quite a few ruck marches and practiced land navigation in full battle rattle to prepare as much as we could for this competition,” Higgins said. “Staff Sgt. Mitchell Teague, who was the 311th NCO of the Year in 2009, handled all of our training. We spent many hours studying, and he scheduled training for us with other units, to give us a wider base of knowledge.”

Along with Jackson and Higgins, the other 11 competing Soldiers found working with their peers helped prepare them. 

“This competition taught me that regardless of your skill level, if you work as a team and keep a positive attitude, you will be very successful,” said Spc. Sharlene Christensen, information management officer for Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment, 54th Theater Sig. Bn.’s Regional Network and Security Operation Center. She traveled from Camp Arifjon, Kuwait, to represent the 335th Sig. Theater Command, and was the runner-up for Soldier of the Year.

Staff Sgt. James Becker, representing 293rd Sig. Co., 36th Sig. Bn. 1st Sig. Bde., Camp Carroll, Korea, received top honors as the NCO of the Year, and Spc. Brian Williams, Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 21st Sig. Bde., Fort Meade, Md., earned the title of Soldier of the Year.

“We all worked hard … we had a chance to work as a team in the warrior task event, and we did well. With each task rolling into the next, we had to come up with a plan and cover each other while moving under fire toward our objective,” Williams said. “When we saw each other working so hard, it was a great motivation to push ourselves even harder.”

Williams and Becker will represent NETCOM at the Force Readiness Command NCO and Soldier of the Year competitions in August.

Category: News

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