Photos by Staff Sgt. Kelvin Ringold
Soldiers from the 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade competed in the 11th TTSB Soldier and Noncommissioned-Officer of the Year Competition Sept. 5 at the 11th TTSB headquarters on Fort Huachuca.
“I am an American Soldier. I am a warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States, and live the Army Values.” These are the first few lines of the Soldier’s Creed, a creed all Soldiers should know by heart. Spc. David Wallen, Company C, 86th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, and Sgt. Jessica Brown, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 57th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, showed this creed means much more to them than words to memorize. It is a way of life and they demonstrated that by being selected as this year’s Soldier and NCO of the year.
In order to compete in this prestigious competition, the Soldiers must have first won a Soldier or NCO of the Quarter board. This in itself is no easy task. Any Soldier who has been through a board will tell you it is one of the most nervous, anxious times they go through. Standing in front of a group of highly respected senior NCOs in their dress uniform, hoping they measured everything correctly and their brass is shining brightly, trying to remember all of the information for the questions the board members may or may not ask will make even the toughest, most experienced Soldiers’ knees shake.
Wallen, a nodal network systems operator-maintainer, was recognized by his chain of command as an outstanding Soldier and was chosen to compete in a Soldier of the Month board at his unit.
“For my first board I was just chosen to go. I won that board, won the next one, and now I’m here and I won this one,” he said. “This whole competition is optional for Soldiers, but if you want to win this, volunteer and apply yourself, do everything you can do to win and you will succeed,” said Wallen.
This was not Brown’s first Soldier/NCO of the year competition.
“I came here as a Soldier in 2008 and I didn’t win that one, so coming back here and doing it again and winning means a lot, it is something I have wanted for a while,” said Brown.
A pin from one of Brown’s uniform pieces fell off when she first walked into the board, and she had to keep her composure while executing movements and answering questions. This did not deter her determination.
“These [boards] are not the most fun. There is a lot of preparation and hard work involved … but as an NCO, you have to set the right example,” she said.
After the winners were announced, Lt. Col. John Donaldson, 11th TTSB rear provisional commander, passed out coins, shook the Soldiers’ hands and spoke with them.
“Behind each and every one of these Soldiers were outstanding NCOs to help them prepare for this competition. You need to become that outstanding NCO,” he said.
Wallen and Brown will return to their home units and begin to prepare for their next competition which will be the III Corps Soldier and NCO of the Year to be held later on in the year.