FORT BLISS, Texas -- Every year, noncommissioned officers compete for the title of NCO of the Year.

The competitions and competitors advance in level from battalion to brigade to division to Forces Command and on to the highest level, the U.S. Army NCO of the Year.

All candidates go through a selection process that includes recommendations from their immediate supervisors, then testing in their technical and tactical expertise, physical fitness, and the overall qualities possessed by professional NCOs. Every event in the competition is judged on a point scale.

The competition includes the Army Physical Fitness Test, a six-mile road march in combat gear, weapons qualification, weapons proficiency, map reading and land navigation, urban orienteering, warrior tasks and battle drills, and military knowledge.

The 5th Armored Brigade competition held last month was structured to test Soldiers' limits both physically and mentally and allowed only one NCO to rise above the rest.

"The best part of this competition was to challenge yourself and know what you are really made of," said Staff Sgt. Fernando Terrazas, 5th Armored Brigade NCO of the Year. "This is the kind of competition that focuses on total Soldier concept."

Terrazas will compete for the title of Division West NCO of the Year April 23-25 at Fort Hood, Texas.