The 121st Brigade Support Battalion, "Iron Hammers," held a seminar for its Soldiers with career advancement in mind, Feb. 27, 2010, at Memorial Hall on Contingency Operating Base Adder.

Over 300 Soldiers attended the event and were broken down into smaller groups to rotate through different stations, where they could learn about retention, drill sergeant school, career progression plans and paths to officer or warrant officer commissioning.

Each station representative provided valuable information and resources to assist the Soldiers with plans to enhance their careers.

Those interested in pursuing a second military occupational specialty received information in such career fields such as psychological operations, healthcare and civil affairs.

Former enlisted Soldiers commissioned through Officer Candidate School or the ROTC Green to Gold scholarship program were invited to speak to the groups on their experiences and offer guidance for those pursuing an officer commission.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Marc Assumpcao discussed three of the biggest factors that need to be in place for a Soldier considering putting together a Warrant Officer Candidate School packet.

"Self-determination, guidance from a senior warrant officer, endorsement from the chain of command are all key," said Assumpcao, a native of Miami, Fla.

"This gave me a lot of information that I could use. I'm interested in the Green to Gold program; I've considered it quite a few times as there's a nursing program where I can become a military registered nurse," said Spc. Brandie Tinker, a fuel specialist from Richmond, Va., assigned to F Company.

Tinker added that, with one year left of her enlistment, she plans to work toward becoming a certified nurse assistant and then work towards her bachelor's degree.

The guest speaker for the career progression seminar was Chief Warrant Officer 4 Christina Velez, an aviation operations officer assigned to 4th Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

Velez joined the Army immediately after high school in El Paso, Texas, and took on the challenge of putting together a flight warrant officer packet.

"One of the big questions you should be asking yourself is 'What do I have to do today to prepare for tomorrow'' and it comes down to choices that you make," said Velez. "People make their own luck to get to where they want to be. That 'luck' is a combination of being qualified, showing up on time to take an opportunity, and having the will to accomplish the goal."

With redeployment to Fort Bliss, Texas, on the horizon, the "Iron Hammer" Soldiers are faced with the next step in their careers, with self-examination in regards to short-term and long-term goals.

"I have 18 Soldiers; this gives them the opportunity to get information on different schools, points of contact and a chance to expand their knowledge base," said Sgt. William Jones, a fuel specialist from Charlotte, N.C., assigned to A Company.

Those involved with running the career seminar agreed that the event was beneficial to Soldiers
who were able to attend.

"It provided motivation & incentive to all Soldiers to continue to serve proudly and distinctively," said Assumpcao.

Page last updated Sat March 20th, 2010 at 23:16