Year of the NCO: Wiesbaden chaplain's assistants serve as role models for fellow Soldiers
Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Hagemann, an Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course Distinguished Honors Graduate, and Spc. Travis Kennedy, U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden's Soldier of the Year, work together at the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Religious Services Office.

WIESBADEN, Germany - "The Army of the future depends on what I do now to mentor, lead and teach my fellow Soldiers," said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Hagemann, a chaplain's assistant with the U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Religious Services Office.
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Hagemann, the Distinguished Honors Graduate at his recent Advanced Noncommissioned Officers Course in Fort Devens, Texas, was describing what motivated him to strive to be an outstanding NCO leader. "NCOs should be teaching all enlisted leaders to someday take their job. When I retire I want to feel safe for my children - to know that the people I've left behind will be successful."
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To be named Distinguished Honors Graduate, Hagemann said he had to compile the highest test, physical training and other scores among his classmates.
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Like Hagemann, his fellow chaplain's assistant at the Wiesbaden Religious Services Office, Spc. Travis Kennedy, also strives to be the best he can be.
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Kennedy recently was named USAG Wiesbaden's Soldier of the Year and took runner-up honors at the Installation Management Command-Europe Soldier of the Year Competition.
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"I think it's vital that he took the opportunity and the initiative to do things," said Hagemann, describing how Kennedy put in the long hours preparing, studying while eating his lunch and seeking pointers and advice whenever he could.
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"The important thing with the NCO Education System, whether it's the Warrior Leadership Course, Basic NCO Course or ANOC is to be prepared," said Hagemann. "Don't wait until someone tells you to go to a school. Be prepared. Follow your packing list and do the best you can."
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Kennedy, who faced seven command sergeants major on the board and joined 12 other top Soldiers from around Europe at the competition, said the key to his success was preparation. "You need to prepare ahead of time - not only to be a better Soldier but also to be a better person. We still have to embody the seven Army values."
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Kennedy said having the study guide on his digital media player, working with his fellow garrison NCO of the Year contender and seeking advice were crucial in gearing up for the competition.
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"I definitely learned a lot from my first line NCO and Staff Sgt. Swan (the garrison's NCO of the Year). He told me a lot of things I didn't know such as things about Soldier tasks," Kennedy said.
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"I learned a little bit about myself - that if I push myself beyond my limit, not only does it make me a better Soldier, but it also makes me ready to take on anything in my environment," he said.
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"You have to be psychologically fit (to compete)," he said, adding that having a commitment helped him. "As a chaplain's assistant I think it's mainly a commitment that you make to a higher being. You'll get blessed based on the commitment that you put in."
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Kennedy added that with almost three years in the military under his belt, his ultimate goal is to one day be command sergeant major in the Chaplains Corps.
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As an NCO role model, Hagemann said he feels it is important to live up to all of the Army values. "They all play a vital role - integrity, honor, duty - things like that - as soon as you put one aside you lose focus on all of the others."
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Hagemann also advised fellow NCOs preparing for ANOC to stand out from the crowd. "Don't hang with the group and conform. Take the classes seriously."
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The Year of the NCO - celebrating the Army's past, present and future enlisted leaders.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16