• U.S. Army Spc. William Boyle, fire support specialist, Combined Joint Fires, a Monson, Mass., native, completes the task of interacting with the media during the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion 101st Airborne Division annual competition in which he was named HHB 101st Airborne Division Soldier of the Year at Bagram Air Field, Oct. 29, 2013. The two-day event included a physical fitness test, radio operations, interacting with media, donning protective masks, detainee search, weapons assembly and qualification, a medical lane, written exam and board. The deployed environment offered a unique challenge to all participants. Boyle may now continue on to compete at the division level upon redeployment. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Manda Walters, 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/RELEASED)

    101st HHB hosts NCO and Soldier of the Year

    U.S. Army Spc. William Boyle, fire support specialist, Combined Joint Fires, a Monson, Mass., native, completes the task of interacting with the media during the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion 101st Airborne Division annual competition in...

  • U.S. Army Spc. William Boyle, fire support specialist, Combined Joint Fires, a Monson, Mass., native, drags a 150-pound mannequin with multiple simulated injuries to the casualty extraction point during the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion 101st Airborne Division annual competition in which he was named HHB 101st Airborne Division Soldier of the Year at Bagram Air Field, Oct. 29, 2013. The medical lane simulated stressors such as gunfire, explosions and light disturbance. The deployed environment offered a unique challenge to all participants. Boyle may now continue on to compete at the division level upon redeployment. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Manda Walters,129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/RELEASED)

    101st HHB hosts NCO and Soldier of the Year

    U.S. Army Spc. William Boyle, fire support specialist, Combined Joint Fires, a Monson, Mass., native, drags a 150-pound mannequin with multiple simulated injuries to the casualty extraction point during the Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion 101st...

  • U.S. Army Sgt. Jose Rios, noncommissioned officer in charge of human resources, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion 101st Airborne Division, and a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is cheered by Command Sgt. Maj. Tonika Scott-Morris (left), HHB 101st Airborne Division, of Florence, Ala., after finishing first in the 12-mile ruck march, part of a two-day competition in which he earned the HHB 101st Airborne Division NCO of the Year designation at Bagram Air Field, Oct. 30, 2013. In addition to the ruck march, the competition included a physical fitness test, issue of an operations order, radio operations, interacting with media, donning protective masks, detainee search, weapons assembly and qualification, medical lane, written exam and oral board. Rios may now continue on to compete at the division level upon redeployment. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Manda Walters,129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/RELEASED)

    101st HHB hosts NCO and Soldier of the Year

    U.S. Army Sgt. Jose Rios, noncommissioned officer in charge of human resources, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion 101st Airborne Division, and a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is cheered by Command Sgt. Maj. Tonika Scott-Morris (left), HHB 101st...

  • U.S. Army Sgt. Jose Rios, noncommissioned officer- in charge of human resources, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, and a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is congratulated by Command Sgt. Maj. Tonika Scott-Morris, HHB 101st Airborne Division, of Florence, Ala., after being named HHB 101st Airborne Division NCO of the Year at Bagram Air Field, Oct. 30, 2013. Seven NCOs competed in the annual competition. Rios may now compete at the division level upon redeployment. Competing in a deployed environment offered unique challenges to all participants. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Manda Walters, 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment/RELEASED)

    101st HHB hosts NCO and Soldier of the Year

    U.S. Army Sgt. Jose Rios, noncommissioned officer- in charge of human resources, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, and a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, is congratulated by Command Sgt. Maj. Tonika Scott-Morris, HHB 101st...

BAGRAM AIR FIELD, Afghanistan - The Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 101st Airborne Division, Task Force Gladiator held its annual two-day competition culminating in the selection of Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year at Bagram Air Field, Oct. 30, 2013.

"The major challenge to this competition is that soldiers are in an actual combat zone," said Command Sgt. Maj. Tonika Scott-Morris, HHB 101st Airborne Division, of Florence, Ala. "They have to be aware of the protective posture as well as cover and concealment if we take indirect fire during the competition."

While no indirect fire occurred during the event, the unique combat-zone aspect added to the skill necessary to carry out the traditional hands-on tasks.

The 10 participants competed in timed soldiering tasks and battle-skill training, including a physical fitness test, issue of an operations order, operating a radio, interacting with media, donning protective masks, detainee searches, weapons assembly and qualification, medical skills, a 12-mile ruck march, written exam and an oral board.

"The medical lane is one example where soldiers are put under additional stress and tested on their ability to put into action what they have been trained to do," said Scott-Morris.

Under simulated battle stressors such as gunfire, explosions and light disturbances, competitors applied first aid to a 150-pound mannequin with multiple injuries, then moved the casualty approximately 50 meters to the extraction point.

Before and during the competition, participants gained knowledge of themselves while enhancing their competence in the battle drills.

"I pushed myself a little bit farther than I actually thought I could," said Sgt. Jose Rios, noncommissioned officer in charge of human resources, HHB Battalion, 101st Human Resources NCO, and a native of Caguas, Puerto Rico. "I learned about the steps I need to take to save someone's life and will take that back to the soldiers of my unit."

"My NCO and myself made a training calendar for October," said Spc. William Boyle, fire support specialist, Combined Joint Fires, and a Monson, Mass., native. "This helped me prepare now, but will also be something I can use to help fellow soldiers prepare in the future as well."

Pushing oneself and utilizing a training calendar paid off. Boyle and Rios were selected HHB 101st Airborne Division Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, respectively.

A formal ceremony to recognize the winners is slated for mid-November. Rios and Boyle may continue on to compete at the division level upon redeployment.

Page last updated Sat November 2nd, 2013 at 00:00