Darnall selects NCO of the Year
Col. Joan Vanderlaan, deputy commander for patient services and nursing, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Texas, pins Staff Sgt. Steven Mock, CRDAMC, with the Army Achievement Medal for his accomplishments. Mock is assigned to Company A, CRDAMC.

FORT HOOD, TEXAS - Staff Sgt. Steven Mock, a California native assigned to Company A, Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, earned several awards over his five-year military career, and being named the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for both CRDAMC and Great Plains Regional Medical Command in San Antonio, Texas, was another stepping stone in his path from green to gold.

"I'm very honored. I'm trying to live up to NCOs I've known in the past and NCOs I've worked with. I'm just trying to maintain the high standards that an NCO should hold himself too," Mock said.

Mock graduated from Pepperdine University in 2003 with a triple-major bachelor's degree for International Studies, Spanish, and Art, But after Sept. 11 he felt the need to help Soldiers on the battlefield.

"September 11th happened while I was in college and I felt like up to that point all I had been able to do was watch it on the news. I decided then, that I wanted to be a Combat Medic to help Soldiers and be on the line with them, and I was tired of watching it on TV and not doing anything," Mock said.

A super achiever, he joined the Army in August of 2004, and two years later Mock was already a sergeant leading Soldiers.

Six years later, Mock succeeded in winning both NCO of the month and NCO of the quarter. He was headed to CRDAMC's NCO of the Year competition when he received news of his acceptance for the two-year Physician Assistant (PA) program in Fort Sam Houston, Texas.

Knowing the PA program would shift his status from green to gold, Mock asked his NCOIC not to retract his nomination for NCO of the Year.

"I told my NCOIC, 'Don't count me out until I go on leave. I'd like to go to the NCO of the Month Board and prepare myself for my promotion board,' and it all took off from there," Mock said. With support from his first-line supervisor, Mock moved on to his latest achievement as NCO of the Year.

How does a Soldier get to the point where he is recognized as a model for others to imitate'

According to CRDAMC's top enlisted Soldier, Command Sgt. Maj. Keith Seidler, "Many times it starts with a Soldier wanting to do a little bit more, or they are encouraged by their senior leaders." Seidler explained that Soldiers considering entering any board should be prepared to discuss Army programs, drill ceremonies, drugs and alcohol, sexual harassment, suicide prevention, all the things a leader should know in order to talk about them with their Soldiers.

Seidler said, "Living the NCO creed will guarantee fulfillment in your leadership as an NCO. The creed clearly states, "My two basic responsibilities will always be uppermost in my mind- accomplishment of my mission and the welfare of my Soldiers."

Those thoughts were on Mock's mind during the three-day competition at Fort Hood. The event included a physical performance exam, written exam to test their Army knowledge, rank structure, leadership skills, common tasks training, weapons qualifications, day and night land navigation, first aid skills, and a road march. Academic skills such as writing are required; this year's essay subject was the Year of the NCO.

For the final competition, Mock suited up in his Class A uniform and waited his turn for the oral exam board. Sergeant majors from all over the region were invited to sit in to increase the anticipation. The ploy worked.

"The most difficult part of the competition was the board itself. I waited for three hours before going in, and the anticipation was wearing me down mentally. I had to be sure I was prepared for all types of questions," Mock said.

After celebrating his selection as CRDAMC NCO of the Year, the first thing Mock wanted to do was take a break. "I took a break from studying and relaxed. I was trying to avoid burning out, I wanted to take in the win and get ready for PA school," he said.

Mock later went on to compete in and win the Great Plains Regional Medical Command NCO of the Year title.

As a winner of both the CRDAMC and GPRMC competitions, Staff Sgt. Mock would have gone on to compete at the U.S. Army Medical Command for NCO of the Year. However, because he has been accepted to PA school, the NCO of the Year runner-up, Staff Sgt. Martha Jasso, of Irwin Army Community Hospital at Fort Riley, Kan. went to the MEDCOM competition.

Mock said he would use the momentum from winning NCO of the Year for CRDAMC and GPRMC to stay positive and really do his best in the PA program. "I hear it's incredibly demanding," he added.

His achievements earned him the Army Commendation Medal for each board, a combat medic statue, a backpack, wristwatch, and a savings bond.

Mock commented that in going from green to gold, "I intend to lead by the creed and my enlisted experience. I'll continue to hold myself to high standards."

Mock said his ideal job after PA school would be as a physician assistant in an infantry combat arms unit.

"I love medics and I love being a medic. They're the first responders out on the battlefield.

"The NCOs throughout history are really the ones that made things happen, they're the ones who train Soldiers, who lead Soldiers to complete the mission. Officers supervise and determine the mission, but in the end, sergeants and their Soldiers get the mission done. I think it's great that the Army is recognizing the NCO, and more importantly, informing the American public about what an NCO is," Mock said.

Page last updated Thu April 9th, 2009 at 17:11