Many people have come up to me recently and congratulated me on winning Soldier of the Quarter for the Division Special Troops Battalion. They would remark, "Oh, well you must be smart to do that well."

My instant reply is to tell them, "No, going to the board is not about being smart; it is all about discipline."

Sure, it was hard to sit down and study every evening after working all day. And I sometimes felt silly riding the bus to Camp Casey with the Army Study Guide downloaded on my mp3 player. But that is what it takes.

Like anything, I must have the commitment and the discipline to give my all at all times. After all, isn't being a Soldier about giving 100 percent at all times to all things'

Why should going to a board be any different'

After winning the battalion board, I competed for the 2ID Soldier of the Quarter. Although I didn't win, the experience taught me a lot about myself.

I was stretched physically and mentally.

The six-mile ruck march up and down Camp Stanley's hills reinforced the idea that I can do even the most difficult task if I stay motivated. Learning the Warrior Tasks and Drills also expanded my knowledge in areas that will help me with my basic Soldiering skills.

Finally, attending the board with seven command sergeants major, including the division command sergeant major, firing questions my way was a bit unnerving, but also rewarding.

I feel I gained more from attending the boards than I gave. My nightly study sessions were nothing compared to the pride and confidence I feel in myself.

As a specialist who is preparing to be a noncommissioned officer, I feel I have the tools I need to answer questions about the Army, or to know where to look if I don't know the answer.

I also feel confident in myself and my abilities. I feel that I can stand with my head held high, proud of my service and proud to be a Soldier in the U.S. Army.

Award-winning motivational speaker Jim Foster once said that "discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishments." That phrase sums up what going to the board taught me. My path to success is paved by discipline. Discipline to put in the extra time to study, discipline to refine my Soldiering skills, and finally discipline to endure the physical and mental challenges that attending a board puts on you.

I feel all Soldiers should take advantage of the opportunity to attend a Soldier of the Month board. Not only will it give them the knowledge they need as a Soldier and a leader, it will foster a sense of pride and self assurance that can't be taught. You gain it by looking fear in the face and achieving that which you might not have thought possible.

Soldiers who are interested in participating in a weekly study session can call Lake at 732-8856. Study sessions are held every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Camp Red Cloud's Mitchell's Club.

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