‘Wayfinder’ wins USARPAC Career Counselor of Year

| February 19, 2016 | 0 Comments
Photo courtesy of 25th Infantry Division Retention Staff Sgt. John McDermott, battalion career counselor, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, holds a Hawaiian Koa plaque for winning the U.S. Army, Pacific Command Career Counselor of the Year, on Jan. 28, 2016. McDermott is head to Virginia next, Feb. 22-24, to compete at the Secretary of the Army Active Component Career Counselor of the Year Competition.

Photo courtesy of 25th Infantry Division Retention
Staff Sgt. John McDermott, battalion career counselor, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, accepts  a Hawaiian koa plaque for winning the USARPAC Career Counselor of the Year, Jan. 28.

Story by Staff Sgt. Armando R. Limon
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs
25th Infantry Division

FORT SHAFTER — Staff Sgt. John McDermott, battalion career counselor, 29th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, won the U.S. Army-Pacific Command Career Counselor of the Year, here, Jan. 28.

McDermott, representing the 25th ID, competed against four other career counselors from other commands on Oahu.

“It really took a while to sink in that I won the USARPAC board,” he said.

He first had to succeed at the lower division and brigade levels before he won as USARPAC’s top career counselor.

“The process was each fall, or the beginning of the new fiscal year, all the career counselors from brigade get together and see who gets to represent the brigade,” he said.

McDermott also won the 3rd BCT’s top career counselor spot last year. Unfortunately, he was injured and unable to compete at the division level, he said, so this year gave him even greater motivation to succeed at division when he competed against his peers.

He emphasized his study methods that led him to success at all levels of the competition.

“I have no secret study ways,” he said. “I have good mentorship.”

He cited Master Sgt. Karen Fields, 3rd BCT career counselor, as providing excellent mentorship and guidance for him.

“Master Sgt. Fields and my fellow career counselors in the brigade were always quizzing me, end-on-end,” he said.

Fields ensured that McDermott was given more than adequate help from his fellow career counselors from the battalions.

“When I looked at it, I thought the main thing I could do was to ensure that he was afforded time during the duty every day to dedicate to prepare himself for the board,” Fields said.

She didn’t want him to solely study at home, recognizing his need to spend time with his family.

“I know he’s going to do it home, because he’s shown that maturity and that discipline,” she said. “However, I want to make sure that he has time during the day where he doesn’t have to be a husband and a father, and the rest of his peers covered down to make sure that it happened every day.”

Both McDermott and Fields also recognized fellow career counselor, Sgt. 1st Class Wallata Madison, 325th Bde. Support Bn., 3rd BCT, as being instrumental in McDermott’s accomplishment by continually studying with him.

McDermott said, after his success at the USARPAC board, that he must continue his efforts to retain his knowledge.

“You got to continue to study,” he said. “Since this has been going on since November, we’re now in February.”

He is heading to Virginia, Monday, to compete against the top career counselors from the various commands at the Secretary of the Army Active Component Career Counselor of the Year Competition next.

McDermott discovered something of greater importance during the course of his study and practice.

“To be honest with you, it’s made me a better counselor and Soldier just because I continue to dive in and continue to keep everything fresh, and it’s exciting,” McDermott said.

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Category: Leadership, News

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