72nd Soldier to represent Division East in First Army Soldier of the Year competition
April 16, 2012
His professionalism and military bearing caught the Brigade Command Sergeant Major's attention first. His grasp of military knowledge got the sergeant major thinking. Two months later, the sergeant major put his faith in that Soldier to the test. The Soldier, Spec. Timothy Andariese, did not let him down.
Recently, Andariese won the title of First Army Division East Soldier of the Year.
Command Sgt. Maj. James Herbert, 72nd Field Artillery Brigade command sergeant major, said he selected Andariese to represent the brigade at the division competition at Camp Atterbury, Ind., because he was impressed by the young Soldier's professionalism and knowledge.
In February, Andariese, an infantry Soldier from Chelsea, Mich.,served as the scribe during the Army Support Activity Dix Chapter Sgt. Audie Murphy Club selection board, where Herbert, the board president, first realized his potential.
"In speaking to him between candidates and on the breaks, I saw something in him -- his professionalism and military bearing," said Herbert. "So I started casually asking questions to see what the depth of his military knowledge was."
Herbert brought up the possibility of Andariese representing the brigade at the competition to the other board members, asking them to speak to the Soldier and pay close attention to his answers. By the end of the SAMC selection board, the other board members agreed to give Andariese, one of the brigade's training noncommissioned officers, the opportunity to excel at the division competition, said Herbert.
Sgt. 1st Class Brian Mincey, the brigade Equal Opportunity Advisor and Andariese's supervisor, began working with Andariese to prepare him for the upcoming competition.
With just over two and a half years in the Army, Andariese's experiences were limited, but his willingness to learn and ability to retain information were striking, Mincey explained.
"Although he had never been before a board before, he has a lot of self-confidence, so I knew he would do fine," said Mincey. "We focused on proper conduct during a board and completion of Army Warrior Tasks."
"In this brigade, there is no shortage of senior Soldiers who are willing to help out," said Andariese. "Sgt. 1st Class Mincey was a great mentor to me, helping get my uniform squared away, lining up hands-on training, and giving me an idea of what the board questions would be like."
The three-day competition at Camp Atterbury began March 25 with in-processing and an "ice breaker," in which competitors were given the opportunity to meet one another and get familiar with the area. The first event, the Army Physical Fitness Test, kicked off the next morning and marked the first full day of competition.
Following the APFT, the Soldiers drew M4 rifles and headed to the land navigation site, where their map reading skills were tested along with their ability to locate points using a compass and terrain association.
Once they completed the land navigation course, competitors began a 6-mile ruck march. Along the way, the Soldiers stopped at various points to demonstrate their proficiency in Army Warrior Tasks, including administering first aid, calling for a medical evacuation using the 9-line format via the Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System, reacting to indirect fire, and donning an M40 Field Protective Mask.
"I tried to impress upon him the importance on completing the task in front of him, and then moving on to the next one," said Mincey. "I told him, if he missed a step or forgot an answer, to not let it bother him and just drive on; otherwise, agonizing about every mistake would hold him back."
"There is a lot of humility in realizing you don't know as much as you think you did about something," said Andariese. "You begin to see that you have a lot of room for growth."
The day ended with a twilight land navigation course.
"It was a long, long day," said Andariese with a laugh.
The second full day of competition consisted of range qualification with the M4, a 25-question written exam with a three-page essay requirement, and the confidence course.
On the final day of the competition, the Soldiers faced five command sergeants major from within the division who comprised the selection board. They tested the competitors' knowledge on military topics including field sanitation, the Soldier's Creed, supply economy and first aid.
"The board was tough because it was my first one, but I feel that I did pretty well. The fact that I won is still just so surreal to me," said Andariese. "I'm left now with what I didn't know, and those things will be what I focus on going forward."
Andariese is scheduled to attend the Warrior Leader Course at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in April and will represent First Army Division East in the First Army Soldier of the Year competition at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., in May.
"I believe he will do well at the First Army Soldier of the Year competition," said Herbert. "His sponsor knows his strengths and weaknesses, so together they will highlight those strengths and improve the weaknesses."
The 72nd Field Artillery Brigade plans, coordinates and enables post-mobilization, pre-deployment training in support of specified U.S. Army Reserve, Army National Guard, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard units. On order, the brigade provides pre-mobilization training assistance within its capabilities for Army Reserve and Army National Guard units.