NANGARHAR PROVINCE, Afghanistan - Nine U.S. Army soldiers competed in the Combined Task Force Bastogne Soldier and NCO of the Quarter Competition at Forward Operating Base Fenty, Afghanistan, May 3.

Four U.S. Army sergeants faced a board of six U.S. Army sergeants major to compete for the Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter title and five junior enlisted soldiers competed for Soldier of the Quarter.

The board orally tested each soldier's knowledge of a wide range of subjects, including military history and law, current events, weapons handling and first aid. Soldiers were also judged based on their military bearing, their unit's recommendation and how they expressed themselves in an essay.

U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Victor Fernandez, command sergeant major, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, of San Antonio, Texas, and the president of the board, said the purpose of the competition is fourfold.

"First, it helps foster mentorship within the unit," he said. "Second, it helps individual growth and development; third, it helps maintain the heritage and tradition of the Army; fourth, it allows us to pick the best of the best."

U.S. Army Sgt. Daren Rodman, Bravo team leader, Bushmaster Company, 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st BCT, 101 Airborne Division, of Ellicott City, Md., won the Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter title.

U.S. Army Spc. James Jolly, satellite transportable terminal operator, Charlie Company, 1st STB, 1st BCT, 101st Airborne Division, of Hoehne, Colo., won the Soldier of the Quarter title.

Both Rodman and Jolly have competed in multiple boards.


"Every soldier wants to know how they're doing," Jolly said. "At this competition, you get reassurance that you're where you need to be."

Rodman and Jolly, representing TF Bastogne's approximately 4,000 soldiers, will have the opportunity to compete in the Soldier and NCO of the Quarter competition at the division level later this year.