CONTINGENCY OPERATING BASE ADDER, Iraq - Units across the Army use a variety of tools to motivate, educate and recognize their Soldiers.

Some use training or classes, others conduct field exercises, and some hold competitions to recognize the best Soldiers in their units.

On March 31, non-commissioned officers and Soldiers with 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division came to Contingency Operating Base Adder, Iraq to compete in the unit's NCO and Soldier of the Quarter competition.

The brigade's command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Kelley said the competition was intended for the events to encourage friendly competition between the battalions and esprit de corps among the troops involved.

The competition lasted one day and included an Army physical fitness test, a road march, several basic Soldier task challenges and a test of their Army knowledge before of a board of their superiors.

Fourteen individuals, consisting of an NCO and a Soldier from each battalion as well as from the brigade headquarters, competed for the coveted title and an Army Commendation Medal, but only two made the cut: Sgt. Aqulia Crigger, with 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, and Spc. Julian McKinnon, with 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment.

They said the most difficult portion of the day was during the medical treatment evaluation. After applying a tourniquet to a casualty, the troopers had to load the casualty onto a litter and drag them 50 meters to the next station.

"It was tough; really bad. The toughest was the (litter) drag. I had to tell myself not to quit moving because I knew if I lost my momentum I probably wouldn't make it," said McKinnon.

In order to prepare for the panel of questions, Soldiers studied handbooks, regulations, manuals and doctrine. Some were prepared for the onslaught of questions, and others were not.

"After the weapons, I had a feeling (the title) might come my way, but then I wasn't sure after the board," McKinnon said.

At the end of the day, the Soldiers and their leaders gathered for a barbeque and ceremony to announce the winners and celebrate the hard work of those that participated.

Kelley said the competition was open to anyone who felt qualified, no matter his or her position and he encouraged Soldiers to train for next quarter's competition.

"The harder you work at something, the more you can achieve," he said.

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