94th AAMDC competition weeds out top NCO, Soldier of Year
May 8, 2009
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - The 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command (AAMDC), based out of Fort Shafter, Hawaii, conducted a Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) and Soldier of the Year competition here, April 26-29, to determine who among the ranks deserved to be recognized as the best and as the most qualified to represent the command in further competitions.
Sgt. Raymundo De Los Santos, combat medic, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery (ADA) Regiment, and Spc. Jason A. Soberon, intelligence analyst, 94th AAMDC, prevailed over their peers during the grueling three-day competition and were recognized as the NCO and Soldier of the Year for the 94th AAMDC.
The competition included 11 participants from the 94th AAMDC, 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment, and 1-1 ADA.
"I think just the opportunity to compete was an honor. With the number of people in our unit, only 11 people competed, and that in itself shows that you are above the average Soldier and above the average NCO," said Soberon. "You get a great sense of pride out of participating in the competition, especially if you win, knowing that you are among the best in your unit."
The participants were chosen to compete based on their board performances in the months prior to the competition. Most of them had won NCO or Soldier of the Quarter, which qualified them to participate.
"I felt my purpose for competing was to set a good example. I wanted to prove that we can go above and beyond what is asked of us and still be able to perform all of our duties," said De Los Santos. "I also wanted to represent my unit and my section."
The competitors participated in several events during the competition and received points in each event based on how well they performed. The graded events included an Army physical fitness (PT) test, day and night land navigation, a written exam and essay, weapons qualification, warrior task training, a mystery event, and the board.
"The most challenging part of the competition was the mental part, telling yourself to keep going on and pushing yourself to do it all, especially when you're tired," said De Los Santos.
The main intent of the competition was not only to name the NCO/Soldier of the Year for the 94th AAMDC but also to prepare the Soldiers for the U.S. Army- Pacific (USARPAC) and Department of the Army (DA) competitions, said Sgt 1st Class Michael Herbst, noncommissioned officer in charge of the competition, 94th AAMDC.
"While planning the competition, our main objectives were to ensure that what we did ... mirrors, plus some, with the USARPAC competition and DA level competition, because we have full intention that our Soldiers from the 94th will make it all the way to the DA level competition," said Herbst.
The winners received the Army Commendation Medal, a coin, a $500 cash prize, and a plaque.
"I feel a great sense of accomplishment for winning the competition; I also look forward to competing in the USARPAC competition in June," said Soberon. "I hope to make my unit proud by winning the competition and going on to the Department of the Army competition in September."