Fort Leavenworth troops named Combined Arms Center NCO, Soldier of the Year
June 12, 2009
By Will King
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (June 12, 2009) -A,A Sgt. Jovan Luna and Spc. Thomas Rincon, both of Fort Leavenworth, were named winners of the Combined Arms Center 2009 Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year competition at a ceremony June 5 at the Frontier Conference Center.
A total of 12 NCOs and nine Soldiers from 10 different installations, schools and support activities in CAC participated in the competition June 1-5 at Fort Leavenworth. The physical and mental abilities of each NCO and Soldier were tested in several events including the Army Physical Fitness Test, day and night land navigation, marksmanship, warrior tasks testing, a written essay and oral knowledge assessment board.
CAC Command Sgt. Maj. Philip Johndrow, president of the board, said he was proud of all the NCOs and Soldiers who competed. He charged each of the competitors to return to their installations and units and use the knowledge and experience gained from the competition to be better leaders of Soldiers.
"Each of you is second to none," Johndrow said to the competitors. "You have accepted and met the challenge."
He described NCO and Soldier of the Year competitions as marathons rather than sprints, and said competitors must be versed in a variety of skills in order to succeed. Johndrow said he was impressed by the different military occupational skills and job descriptions of the competitors, noting that very few were combat arms.
Luna, of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, CAC, Special Troops Battalion, is the noncommissioned officer in charge of Main Post Chapel. He said he improved in several of the events in the competition, especially marksmanship, from his performance in the Fort Leavenworth NCO and Soldier of the Year competition last month.
"I think I got better in everything," Luna said. "That's what's important, just do better than what you did before."
Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Michael Brainerd, Fort Leavenworth Garrison chaplain, said he was not surprised Luna won CAC NCO of the Year.
"He's an outstanding Soldier, very detail oriented, incredibly intelligent and a strong Christian," Brainerd said. "He sets the example."
Rincon is assigned to the 256th Military Police Company, 40th MP Internment and Resettlement Battalion, and works at the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks. He said he stayed steady on his marksmanship, knocking down 37 of 40 targets, and scored 295 on the APFT. Rincon said he was impressed by the other CAC NCOs and Soldiers in the competition.
"The competition was tough - tough Soldiers," he said.
One of the other Soldier competitors was Spc. Tiffany James of Company E, 1st Battalion, 507th Parachute Infantry Regiment, Fort Benning, Ga. James is a parachute rigger and is airborne and pathfinder qualified. She said hard training and personal discipline are her keys to being a good Soldier.
"Listen to your NCOs, always give more than 110 percent and separate yourself by setting your standards higher," James said.
Spc. Bailey Lee, a lab specialist at Medical Activity, Fort Sill, Okla., had the highest APFT score of all the competitors - a 334 on the extended scale.
After Luna and Rincon won CAC NCO and Soldier of the Year, Johndrow said, "This really shows the quality of the Soldiers we have here at Fort Leavenworth."
Luna and Rincon will represent CAC at the Training and Doctrine Command 2009 NCO and Soldier of the Year competition next month at Fort Monroe, Va.
The other CAC NCO of the Year competitors were Sgt. 1st Class Tarence Hill, Company C, 73rd Ordnance Battalion, Fort Gordon, Ga.; Staff Sgt. Nicholas Beauchamp, Aviation Center of Excellence NCO Academy, Fort Rucker, Ala.; Staff Sgt. Leon Butler, 399th Army Band, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Staff Sgt. Stephan Kraus, Company C, 344th Military Intelligence Battalion, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Staff Sgt. Raul Lopez, Company B, 1st Battalion, 56th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Fort Bliss, Texas; Staff Sgt. Mark McBurney, Company B, 447th Signal Battalion, Fort Gordon, Ga.; Staff Sgt. Shawn Priet, NCO Academy Warrior Leader Course, Fort Knox, Ky.; Staff Sgt. Daniel Roney, Company E, 1st Battalion, 50th Infantry Brigade, Fort Benning, Ga.; Staff Sgt. Nathan Ryan, 5th Brigade, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas; Sgt. Daniel Willis, Company A, 229th MI Battalion, Presidio of Monterey, Calif.; and Sgt. Steven Wilson, Reynolds Army Community Hospital, Fort Sill, Okla.
The other CAC Soldier of the Year competitors were Sgt. Wesley Henderson, 399th Army Band, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Spc. Matthew Brown, HHC, 5th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Fort Bliss, Texas; Spc. Latrisha Howard-Robinson, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6th ADA Brigade, Fort Bliss, Texas; Spc. Alicia Lyman, HHC, 206th MI Battalion, Fort Gordon, Ga.; Spc. Rebecca Maylone, HHC, 111th MI Brigade, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; and Pfc. Dorcas Abotchie, MEDDAC, Fort Knox, Ky.