MP Soldier named USAREUR career counselor of the year
November 27, 2012
SEMBACH, Germany -- A 21st Theater Sustainment Command Soldier has been named the U.S. Army Europe's career counselor of the year.
Sgt. 1st Class James Ray, 95th Military Police Battalion, 18th MP Brigade, and native of Section, Ala., will now compete at the Secretary of the Army career counselor of the year competition.
"The most challenging thing is making sure you are familiar with policies and presenting yourself well at the board. You really have to physically and mentally prepare yourself for the competition," said Ray.
"[Sgt. 1st Class] Ray always goes above and beyond for the Soldiers and their Families. Winning this competition is a reflection of the time and effort he puts into everything he does," said Master Sgt. Felicia Lane, 18th MP Bde., senior career counselor and a native of Perry, Ga.
Career counselors are vital to their unit's missions and are instrumental in a Soldier's progression through the ranks. Additionally, they serve as a special staff advisor to command teams on all retention matters, career development, separations and management.
"A career counselor is very important to a unit. Part of our job is to be the eyes and ears of the commander. I advise the commander of positive and negative things that I see," said Ray.
"The biggest thing is taking care of Soldiers," he added.
In 2007, Ray was named career counselor of the year while assigned to the 1st Calvary Division but did not win at the corps level. He credits his wife Ekaterina for motivating him and pushing him to become the best career counselor in USAREUR.
"She pushed me and makes sure I'm studying. She's very supportive and proud that I won. She has been a motivating factor pushing me to finish my degree. She's kind of been my career counselor," said Ray.
Senior leaders from the 18th MP Bde., expressed confidence that Ray will win at the Secretary of the Army career counselor of the year competition.
"His performance during the USAREUR career counselor of the year competition was superb. I have no doubt that Ray will represent USAREUR extremely well at the Army level," said Lane.
Ray's first step was the 21st Theater Sustainment Command's career counselor of the year competition. Soldiers conducted the Army Physical Fitness Test, had to take a written exam, and answer questions from a board, which tested their knowledge of the Army Retention Program.