Best of the Best
Spc. Jacob Bogle, left, an EOD specialist from Fort Stewart, Ga., was crowned the 20th Support Command (CBRNE) Soldier of the Year, and Sgt. James Kimball, an EOD sergeant from Fort Campbell, Ky., was named the the command\'s NCO of the Year April

ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Two 20th Support Command Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and high-yield Explosives Soldiers proved to be "best of the best" and were selected the CBRNE Command's Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

The titles came after an intense, four-day competition of physical and mental endurance at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., April 12-15.

Spec. Jacob Bogle, an explosives ordnance disposal specialist from Fort Stewart, Ga., is Soldier of the Year, and Sgt. James Kimball, an EOD sergeant from Fort Campbell, Ky., is NCO of the Year.

Other Soldiers competing were: Spec. Keith Hampson, an operations specialist from Fort Lewis, Wash., Staff Sgt. Cesar Martinez, a squad leader from Fort Stewart, Ga., Sgt. Greg Joy, an EOD sergeant from Fort Sill, Okla.; and Sgt. Brandon Barenie, an EOD sergeant from Fort Carson, Colo.

The competition began with an ice-breaker for the competitors to meet and network.

"I enjoyed seeing the competitors building camaraderie with each other," said Master Sgt. Ronald Wylie, a competition facilitator. "This event gave troopers who would normally never see each other a chance to meet and interact."

The competition began on day two with a physical fitness test, followed by a written exam and essay.

Master Sgt. Michelle Davis, senior equal opportunity advisor and sexual assault response coordinator for the 20th SUPCOM, served as the administrator for the written exam and essay portion of the competition. The written essay asked the question, "How would a sexual assault in your unit affect you'"

"This topic reminded the Soldiers that the Army is a family and what affects one affects all," Davis said.

Following the test, Soldiers face urban orienteering - a task aimed to test their ability to read a map and find their way around an unfamiliar area.

Day three was grueling. Soldiers began by testing their marksmanship skills and completing various tasks, such as issuing a warning order, performing chemical decontamination and performing first aid on a choking victim. Some tasks the Soldiers performed during the warrior competition included

The day ended with an eight-mile march to test the competitors' physical strength and endurance.

Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Orosz said the Soldiers and NCOs gave a 100 percent effort during the competition.

"It was evident by the blisters on their feet that they pushed themselves through the events," Orosz said.

One demanding part of the competition was the review board. Competitors were quizzed by senior NCOs on topics like Army regulations, military history and current events.
Orosz said the board was important because it reiterated that it takes more than physical strength to be Army Strong.

"The competition was physical, but also required the noncommissioned officers and Soldiers to think and come prepared," Orosz said.

In the end, all competitors were recognized by Brig. Gen. Jeffrey J. Snow, commander, 20th Support Command, who commended their performance.

"These Soldiers are the best of the best and we are proud of the positive light they shed on our organization," he said.

Joe Ortiz, president of the National Capital Region Chapter, Chemical Corps Regimental Association and Mary Jane Jernigan, president of the Aberdeen Chapter of the AUSA, presented awards to the winners.

"Kimball and Bogle are examples of the caliber of Soldiers in the 20th Support Command and keep our Army Strong," Orosz said.

Though only two competitors won trophies, Wylie said every Soldier walked away with skills beneficial to their development.

"The competition was an opportunity to witness young Soldiers grow into leaders," Wylie said. "The tasks and events they completed prepare them to lead squads or teams into combat and they did an excellent job."

Page last updated Fri April 30th, 2010 at 09:48