Soldier and noncommissioned officer seize the highground
June 17, 2013
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. - Soldiers and noncommissioned officers battled their way through a two-day challenge to determine who best represents the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division during a Soldier and NCO of the Year Competition, April 29-30, at Joint Base Lewis-McCord, Wash.
Spc. Caleb Rhoades, with the 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, and Sgt. Nicholas Bogert, with the 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, competed with their peers from across the 2-2 SBCT formation to win their respective competitions for Soldier of the Year and NCO of the Year for the Lancer Brigade.
The two winners will represent the Lancers at the 7th Infantry Division Best Bayonet Competition, scheduled for May 13-17.
Seven separate brigades will be represented at the Best Bayonet Competition, but only one soldier and noncommissioned officer can take the title home.
"It's a little overwhelming to think you have to go against sergeants through sergeant first classes at the division board, but it is an honor and I am happy doing it and representing the unit.," Bogert said after being named NCO of the Year for the Lancer Brigade.
Competitors had to complete the Army Physical Fitness Test, a road -march with a 35 pound pack and were tested on their knowledge of combative level-one drills, warrior tasks and military knowledge. Each event tested the competitor's overall knowledge and ability to perform as a warrior.
"The competition was designed to better prepare our soldiers so they would understand what to expect for the division board," said Sgt. Major Chad Utz, who serves as the operation sergeant major with 2nd Bde. 2nd Inf. Div.
Competitions test those who want to be the best, but it also builds upon the professionalism of military service.
"One of the Army as a profession tenants is stewardship of our profession and [competitions] help to keep our traditions and custom and courtesies in the military going forward," said Utz. "I hope it was challenging for them and it helps them to understand where the Army is moving towards."
The competition was challenging, said Bogert, but "the hardest part of the competition was getting past sitting in front of a bunch of sergeants major and getting the [nerves] out of your system."
Bogert will compete for the 7th Infantry Division NCO of the year against six of his peers in the 7th Inf. Div. Best Bayonet Competition.
The 7th Infantry Division provides mission command and training oversight for the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Stryker Brigades of the 2nd Infantry Division, the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade, the 17th Fires Brigade, the 555th Engineer Brigade, and the 201st Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. The mission of the 7th ID is to provide trained, ready, and disciplined brigades, such as the Lancer Brigade, which are prepared for deployment in support of the defense of the United States.