Fort Huachuca, Arizona – The winners of the second quarter Soldier, Platoon Sergeant and Non-commissioned Officer of the Quarter for the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade were selected last week.
Spc. Courtney Williams, Bravo Company, 309th Military Intelligence Battalion, was named the Soldier of the Quarter. Sgt. Jason Grider, Alpha Company, 309th MI Bn., was named Non-commissioned Officer of the Quarter and Sgt. 1st Class Helen Milam, Bravo Company, 309th MI Bn., won Platoon Sergeant of the Quarter.
The winners received congratulations and praise during an award ceremony on March 18. They each also took home an Army Commendation Medal and swag bags with various goodies with the 111th MI Bde. crest on them. All three winners will now go on to compete in the brigade Soldier, NCO and Platoon Sergeant of the Year Competition this summer.
Five contestants participated in the two-day competition from the various battalions of the 111th MI Bde. The contestants competed in land navigation, day and night; an 8.25-mile ruck march with a pack weighing a minimum of 35 pounds; in-ranks inspection; a mock media panel; Army physical fitness test; a short foot march; three Army warrior tasks including searching individuals, reacting to an unexploded ordinance and hand and arm signals; and a panel board.
This competition was the first time a media portion was included. The group added it because it was one of the events during last year’s Training and Doctrine Command competition, according to Sgt. 1st Class John Langford, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 111th MI Bde. “We wanted to add it in because we want to emulate what they are going to experience for the TRADOC competition,” Langford said.
“It’s an honor to be able to come here and compete in this type of event because it’s the NCO of the Quarter for the entire brigade, so it kind of sets you apart from your peers,” said Sgt. Grider.
The Soldier stated he enjoys competing in events such as the quarterly competition because he gains more knowledge with every board. “I basically just build my knowledge base. Every board I go to that’s really what I get out of it and with building my knowledge base on this one … I get to set myself apart from my peers. It goes back to honor, wearing the uniform on a daily basis has always been an honor to me, to rise to this level, it just adds to it,” Grider said.
Each battalion holds their own Soldier of the month competitions for the Soldiers of the quarter boards. Then they select their best candidate to go forward to the brigade board.
Those quarterly winners then go on to compete for Soldier of the Year and that winner eventually competes at the TRADOC competition.
Williams said that pushing herself to do better and overcoming the obstacles she faces were the hardest part of the competition.
“I wanted to compete because I have issues with speaking to groups of people so I think this will help me, and I wanted to represent my battalion,” Williams explained. “To me, to compete it means to be the best and get recognition for it. I want to take away that I should never be afraid and overcome the obstacles that I face, and just being able to say that I did it.”
Four battalions and Headquarters and Headquarters Company are eligible to submit competitors for the quarterly competitions. During the various events, the competitors are checked for physical stamina, mental fitness and basic Soldier skills, said Langford.
Milam didn’t find any of the events challenging when asked after the first day. “Competing just proves to my Soldiers that just because we are sergeants first class doesn’t mean that we’re too old to do it,” she said.
Spc. Dawna Casanova, Alpha Company, was injured during the land navigation portion and was not able to finish other portions of the competition. Staff Sgt. Luke Eckman, Alpha Company, 344th MI Bn., was injured during the land navigation portion and was not able to continue in the competition.
The third quarter competition is expected to be held in May.