Deployed Forces: 25th CAB grooms future enlisted leaders while deployed

| July 9, 2010 | 0 Comments

Story and Photo by
Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts
25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

Command Sgt. Maj. Necati Akpinar, 2nd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment, Task Force Diamond Head, briefs promotion-board Soldiers and their sponsors about the day’s promotion board standards prior to the TF Diamond Head’s monthly board at Contingency Operating Base Speicher, near Tikrit, Iraq, recently. CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq — Several enlisted Soldiers with the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Wings, 25th Infantry Division, paced nervously and recited answers to anticipated questions, while others worked on facing movements and weapons drills. They all tried to control their nerves. 

At any moment, someone would be called to enter the boardroom and face six senior noncommissioned officers. The senior NCOs, with more than a century of combined military experience among them, would test the Soldiers to determine if they were truly ready for promotion.

Every month Soldiers of the 25th CAB appear before enlisted promotion-selection boards, here, and at Contingency Operating Site Warrior, Iraq, as part of the process to become a sergeant or staff sergeant. These Soliders refuse to allow war to derail their professional careers.

Since the brigade deployed to Iraq in September 2009, more than 200 Soldiers with the 25th CAB have competed for promotion. Not everyone is recommended. 

Two Soldiers who earned their “promotable” status are Spc. Katherine Gutierrez and Spc. Aaron Rickert, ­both human resource specialists with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th CAB. 

Both Soldiers appeared before mock boards, called Soldier of the Month boards, hosted by their company leadership prior to appearing before a battalion-level promotion board. 

“One of the biggest challenges was maintaining the motivation and self-discipline to continue preparing when I didn’t get recommended to go to the promotion board after the Soldier of the Month board,” Rickert said. “But, I didn’t let the setback discourage me. It’s in the Soldier’s Creed to never quit, and I knew that I wouldn’t be the kind of leader others look up to if I refused to continue trying to get promoted.”

“The pre-boards were very valuable,” Gutierrez said. “I would recommend that Soldiers take those seriously, also that Soldiers not get discouraged if they miss a question. That will happen. Be resilient and stay confident.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Necati Akpinar, 2nd Battalion, 25th Avn. Regiment, serves as the president of the board for TF Diamond Head and has evaluated hundreds of Soldiers for promotion. 

He said war is no reason to postpone NCO development. Every Soldier has a specific military occupational specialty, but each one is a Soldier first. As such, each person must maintain the necessary level of substantive knowledge, technical and tactical proficiency, and the confidence to lead others. 

“Professional development continues no matter the environment and our promotion boards are always tough,” Akpinar said. “When we recommend a Soldier for promotion, we look at that Soldier as our replacement. They must, of course, possess a certain level of knowledge, but each must also be able to express themselves confidently and in clear language. 

“The Soldiers up for promotion are our Army’s future,” he added. “We pick the best of the best. We will not leave the Army in the hands of someone that cannot do the job. We will not set our Army up for failure.” 

At the TF Diamond Head promotion board, Sgt. Christopher Elder, UH-60 Black Hawk crew chief and company standardization instructor, Company C, 2nd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., not only participated in the board but also sponsored and prepared three of his own Soldiers to attend. 

“You should never put your development on hold,” Elder said. “As important as it was for me to further my goals and get promoted to staff sergeant, it’s equally important for me, as an NCO, to help my Soldiers further their professional goals. 

“That’s really what being an NCO all is about,” he said. “I look at my Soldiers as our future enlisted leaders, and my job is to train them to replace 

Story and Photo by Staff Sgt. Mike Alberts 25th Combat Aviation Brigade Public Affairs,  25th  Infanty DivisionCONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE SPEICHER, Iraq — Several enlisted Soldiers with the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, Task Force Wings, 25th Infantry Division, paced nervously and recited answers to anticipated questions, while others worked on facing movements and weapons drills. They all tried to control their nerves. At any moment, someone would be called to enter the boardroom and face six senior noncommissioned officers. The senior NCOs, with more than a century of combined military experience among them, would test the Soldiers to determine if they were truly ready for promotion.Every month Soldiers of the 25th CAB appear before enlisted promotion-selection boards, here, and at Contingency Operating Site Warrior, Iraq, as part of the process to become a sergeant or staff sergeant. These Soliders refuse to allow war to derail their professional careers.Since the brigade deployed to Iraq in September 2009, more than 200 Soldiers with the 25th CAB have competed for promotion. Not everyone is recommended. Two Soldiers who earned their “promotable” status are Spc. Katherine Gutierrez and Spc. Aaron Rickert, ­both human resource specialists with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 25th CAB. Both Soldiers appeared before mock boards, called Soldier of the Month boards, hosted by their company leadership prior to appearing before a battalion-level promotion board. “One of the biggest challenges was maintaining the motivation and self-discipline to continue preparing when I didn’t get recommended to go to the promotion board after the Soldier of the Month board,” Rickert said. “But, I didn’t let the setback discourage me. It’s in the Soldier’s Creed to never quit, and I knew that I wouldn’t be the kind of leader others look up to if I refused to continue trying to get promoted.”“The pre-boards were very valuable,” Gutierrez said. “I would recommend that Soldiers take those seriously, also that Soldiers not get discouraged if they miss a question. That will happen. Be resilient and stay confident.”Command Sgt. Maj. Necati Akpinar, 2nd Battalion, 25th Avn. Regiment, serves as the president of the board for TF Diamond Head and has evaluated hundreds of Soldiers for promotion. He said war is no reason to postpone NCO development. Every Soldier has a specific military occupational specialty, but each one is a Soldier first. As such, each person must maintain the necessary level of substantive knowledge, technical and tactical proficiency, and the confidence to lead others. “Professional development continues no matter the environment and our promotion boards are always tough,” Akpinar said. “When we recommend a Soldier for promotion, we look at that Soldier as our replacement. They must, of course, possess a certain level of knowledge, but each must also be able to express themselves confidently and in clear language. “The Soldiers up for promotion are our Army’s future,” he added. “We pick the best of the best. We will not leave the Army in the hands of someone that cannot do the job. We will not set our Army up for failure.” At the TF Diamond Head promotion board, Sgt. Christopher Elder, UH-60 Black Hawk crew chief and company standardization instructor, Company C, 2nd Bn., 25th Avn. Regt., not only participated in the board but also sponsored and prepared three of his own Soldiers to attend. “You should never put your development on hold,” Elder said. “As important as it was for me to further my goals and get promoted to staff sergeant, it’s equally important for me, as an NCO, to help my Soldiers further their professional goals. “That’s really what being an NCO all is about,” he said. “I look at my Soldiers as our future enlisted leaders, and my job is to train them to replace 

Category: Deployed Forces, Leadership, News

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