7ID names Bayonet Soldier, NCO of the Year
June 17, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - After a week of anticipation and suspense, Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, 7th Infantry Division commanding general, announced the division's Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year during a ceremony, May 23.
Sgt. Nicholas Bogert, an infantryman with 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, and Pfc. Nathaniel Kirkpatrick, an infantryman with 2nd Bn., 3rd Inf. Reg., 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Inf. Div., were named the 7th Inf. Div. Bayonet NCO and Soldier of the Year.
"You are what make America great, you are part of the next great generation of our leaders," Lanza said, prior to awarding both Soldiers the Meritorious Service Medal for their work.
The announcement came a week after Bogert and Kirkpatrick, along with 11 other NCOs and soldiers representing the division's seven brigades, competed for the coveted title.
The competition, held May 15 through 17, tested the Soldiers in a variety of areas, including the Army Physical Fitness Test; an 8-mile road march with a 70-pound rucksack; weapons qualification with iron sights and optics; a day and night land navigation course; stations on Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills; an obstacle course and a sergeants major board.
"The competition was set up to mirror the United States Army Forces Command competition, so the winners won't be surprised at what they would see at that level," explained Sgt. Maj. Paul H. Bryant, 7th Inf. Div. operations sergeant major, who oversaw competition coordination.
The three-day competition had the Soldiers testing from sunrise until well after sunset, assessing their physical fitness, critical decision-making, determination and drive.
Command Sgt. Maj. Delbert D. Byers, 7th Inf. Div. command sergeant major, said the competition was a true testament to the Army Profession, as these Soldiers are vying to be named the best of the best; giving 100 percent in every aspect of Soldiering is required 100 percent of the time.
"It feels good, it's a relief. I really didn't think I was going to win at all... I just kept waiting for the word," said Bogert, of Brown City, Mich.
Bogert praised his leadership, and thanked them for supporting him in every endeavor. He said he will now begin focusing on "more studying and more [Physical Training]" in order to prepare for the I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord NCO of the Year competition.
For Kirkpatrick, an Otsego, Mich., native, who has seven months time in service, winning was confirmation that hard work pays off.
"Rank doesn't really matter in this kind of competition, it's all about knowledge and heart. I tried really hard, and all of my hard work paid off," Kirkpatrick said. "Everyone tried really hard, they all had a lot of heart."
From the start, Byers said to keep an eye out for Kirkpatrick, who had impressed graders and senior leaders throughout the division following the completion of the 8-mile road march. He was the first competitor to finish, sprinting to the finish line at one hour and 44 minutes.
"I did well on the ruck march and the [Physical Training] test, definitely on the land navigation, but there are a lot of things I can improve on," Kirkpatrick said, following his board appearance.
Kirkpatrick said he plans to train and study with Bogert in order to prepare for the I Corps competition.
"I want to...gain a lot of knowledge from him, especially for the boards, because I feel as though that was my weakest area. Hopefully I can get better," Kirkpatrick said. "I won't ever quit trying to better myself."
In the upcoming weeks, Bogert and Kirkpatrick will represent the 7th Inf. Div. at the I Corps NCO and Soldier of the Year. From there, winners will go on to compete at the FORSCOM competition.