By Wallace McBride, Fort Jackson LeaderJune 21, 2013
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Eleven of Fort Jackson's finest Soldiers spent two days this week competing for the titles of NCO and Soldier of the Year.
The various challenges are the final hurdles these Soldiers have to cross, after having passed a variety of review boards before being allowed to compete against each other in this week's event, said Sgt. 1st Class Brian Tidwell, 1st Battalion 61st Infantry Regiment, one of the competition's administrators.
"It's a culmination of everything they know," he said Tuesday, as Soldiers ran the physically demanding layout of horizontal obstacles at the Fit to Win course. "It's not only about oral and written communication skills, but about being physically fit, as well. That's one of the requirements for being an effective drill sergeant, NCO and, of course, a Soldier."
"Our NCO and Soldier of the year competition is a two-day event that tests the tactical as well as technical skills of our candidates," said Fort Jackson Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Benson. "The winners of this competition will represent us at numerous events and on numerous occasions over the next year and will be true (representatives) for Fort Jackson. Their level of dedication to our Army and our profession exceeds that of their peers and they have made individual commitments to become the most professional Soldiers and leaders that we have to offer."
During the events, competitors test their aptitude in urban warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams and battle drills at a variety of locations on post. Some of those locations were kept secret, requiring Soldiers to locate them on foot by reading maps.
"They're doing urban orienteering, map reading, land navigation, we're seeing how they perform under stress on the Fit to Win competition and basic rifle marksmanship skills, and their Army Physical Fitness Test," Tidwell said. "Those are all fundamental skills, however, we're looking for them to be masters of those skills. We're looking for the top of the top."
The results of this week's competition were not available at press time.