NCOs compete to represent the Lightning Support Bde.

| July 27, 2017 | 0 Comments
Sgt. Derrick Bernard, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with 25 th Special troops Battalion, 25 th Sustainment Brigade, puts together a radio July 19,  during the communications test for the noncommissioned officer of the quarter board competition.

Sgt. Derrick Bernard, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with 25 th Special troops Battalion, 25 th Sustainment Brigade, puts together a radio July 19, during the communications test for the noncommissioned officer of the quarter board competition.

Story and photo by
Sgt. Ian Ives
25th Sustainment Brigade, 25th Infantry Division Public Affairs

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Noncommissioned officers from the 25th Special Troops Battalion and the 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, competed in the 25th Sustainment Brigade’s NCO of the Quarter competition July 19-20, to see who would represent the Lightning Support Brigade in the 25th Infantry Division NCO of Quarter Board. Unlike most Sustainment brigade boards, this one focused heavily on tactical Soldier skills in order for Sustainers to be more competitive against their infantry counterparts.

Sgt. 1 st Class Mario Puente, the current operations noncommissioned officer for 25 th Sustainment Brigade, grades Sgt. Derrick Bernard, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with 25 th Special troops Battalion, 25 th Sust. Bde., as he disassembles a M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW) July 19,  during the communications test for the noncommissioned officer of the quarter board competition.

Sgt. 1 st Class Mario Puente, the current operations noncommissioned officer for 25 th Sustainment Brigade, grades Sgt. Derrick Bernard, a wheeled vehicle mechanic with 25 th Special troops Battalion, 25 th Sust. Bde., as he disassembles a M249 squad automatic weapon (SAW) July 19, during the communications test for the noncommissioned officer of the quarter board competition.

“What I realize is that as Sustainers we are at a deficit,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Garton Francis, the command sergeant major of the 25th Sustainment Brigade. “We produce great board Soldiers by virtue of our trade; we can read, understand and regurgitate information in a board setting, but when we are out in the elements against the infantry guys, they are ‘eating our lunch.’ So I asked the question: How can we set ourselves up for success?”

To combat the shortcomings Sustainers have in these competitions, Francis developed a board that forced competitors to become more proficient in a tactical environment. Special emphasis was placed on weapons proficiency, land navigation and communications to help Sustainers become better-rounded board Soldiers.

Sgt. Derrick Bernard, a wheeled vehiclemechanic with 25 th Special troops Battalion, 25 th Sustainment Brigade, disassembles a M249squad automatic weapon (SAW) July 19, during the communications test for thenoncommissioned officer of the quarter board competition.

Sgt. Derrick Bernard, a wheeled vehiclemechanic with 25 th Special troops Battalion, 25 th Sustainment Brigade, disassembles a M249squad automatic weapon (SAW) July 19, during the communications test for thenoncommissioned officer of the quarter board competition.

“The tactical portion of the NCO of the Quarter competition is important being that Sustainers are competing against Soldiers throughout the 25th Infantry Division,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mario Puente, the current operations noncommissioned officer for the 25th Sustainment  Brigade. “We need to be able to prove to the entire division that we are more than just Sustainers, but we are also tactically fit Soldiers that can fulfill any mission that the Army presents to us.”

As a combat engineer by trade with many years of tactical combat experience, Puente took charge in ensuring that the competing NCOs were properly tested during the competition. By adding extra stressors during the competition like performing rigorous exercises before performing tasks, he was able to help re-enforce the Soldiers’ abilities to act under pressure.

“This style of board is good for the sustainment brigade because it forces them to prove that they are not just knowledge capable Soldiers, but tactical as well,” said Puente.

Despite these Sustainers being taken out their comfort zone, Sgt. Quindarius Jones, a human resources specialist with 524th CSSB, was named the NCO of the quarter and will go on to represent the brigade at the 25th ID Soldier of the Quarter

Competition later this year. Based on the success of this new competition design the Lightning Support brigade will now continue to produce better-rounded Soldier on and off the battlefield.

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