1st Lt. Jason A. Sexton
1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan (April 27, 2013) -- Platoon leaders from each of the Troops and Companies of Combined Task Force Wolverine competed in the H.J. McChrystal Competition, April 26, at Forward Operating Base Sharana, Afghanistan. The competition was a test of technical and tactical knowledge for lieutenants; the results were surprising but not unexpected.

The McChrystal Leadership Award was created in 2005 by the 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment. It was designed to recognize outstanding leadership between the company grade leaders and was named in honor of Lt. Col. Herbert J. McChrystal, the first commander of the 899th Tank Destroyer Battalion from 1941 to 1943. It's from here that 1-89 Cavalry traces its military lineage.

Traditionally, officers nominate who they feel is worthy of receiving the award based on performance, and all of the officers within the unit would vote. Recently, however, the unit has changed the standard to a competition that tests junior leaders' skills. The skills include communication, first aid, marksmanship, fitness, and a planning phase which includes briefing an operational plan and a written report. These skills were tested over the course of a day and rated on a scale from zero to five hundred.

Each Troop or Company in CTF Wolverine can submit only one platoon leader to compete in the event.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Gerard Connolly, 1st Platoon, B Troop, 1-89 Cavalry, said "it allowed me the opportunity to see what I really did know and what I needed to work on. I owed it to my platoon to compete, and win if possible. To not only instill trust in my Soldiers, but to prove they are good enough for any mission."

Connolly was one of two winners in the first ever competition.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ryan Youngman, Company A, 2nd Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, was the co-winner added, "I was really proud to have won, it's good to know that I still possess the ability to hang with the best and brightest of each Troop."

The competition was competitive and final results were separated by a narrow margin; the two winners scored so close, they were both awarded first place.

All of the competitors showed their skill and proved that they are leaders among Soldiers.

The competition showed the effectiveness of developing and training junior leaders. Future competitions will be open to all noncommissioned officers and junior leaders in CTF Wolverine.