By Spec. Ryan Stroud, 59th Ordinance Bde PAOJuly 18, 2008
"Raise Up" is the motto of HHC 59th. When each Soldier shouts the motto in the morning formations before the start of physical training, it is a verbal reminder to each Soldier to work hard, do the best they can and to go above and beyond 59th's and the Army's standards.
For Staff Sgt. Anthony Marvan, a member of HHC and instructor-AIT squad leader to Charlie Company, "Raise Up" is more than just a motto -- it's a way of life.
Marvan recently competed in and won Redstone Arsenal's Post NCO of the Year competition, placing him in the spotlight of lower enlisted Soldiers and trainee Soldiers as a true leader one can look up to.
Though it's been a long, hard journey for Marvan, it is one he was glad to take. His voyage began with a little push from those around him who saw greatness in the formations.
"My supervisors had a hand with pushing me to go to the board," Marvan said. "They try to find high-speed NCOs to challenge and better themselves by competing in the NCO of the Month board. It's something I've wanted to do. In the past, I'd competed in Soldier of the Month boards, but I hadn't won all-the-way to the post level, so it was pretty unique to finally get to do that.
"Winning the brigade's competition was a big step for me and winning the post level of the NCO of the Quarter was a big accomplishment, but I wanted to go further, I wanted to win it all," he said.
But with Marvan's busy work schedule, the dream to win it all looked dim. Marvan's duties include early mornings and late evenings, teaching and mentoring others around him.
"I help assist the platoon sergeants with training the trainee Soldiers at Charlie Company," he said. "We go and do PT in the morning with the Soldiers and in the evening, we do mentoring, counseling, inspection and any other objectives which need to be accomplished.
"Our day starts around 5:15-5:30 and ends around 18:30 (6:30 p.m.), sometimes around 2000 (8 p.m.). It really depends on what mission we have to accomplish and how long we work with the trainees. I'm also a systems instructor for the 94Y course, integrated family of test equipment, which is a type of automotive test equipment for the Army."
But Marvan was driven to excel and show his Soldiers working hard does pay off.
"The preparation for a competition is enormous," Marvan said with a laugh. "You literally have to be an expert at everything, which puts a ton of pressure on you. And for all the NCOs competing in this competition to have retained all the proper skills and expertises, that's a really big accomplishment for all of us.
"The whole process is a weeklong competition," he continued. "You have to take a PT test, weapons qualification, land navigation, formal board, and the post competition adds on more events like a written test and hands-on testing.
"Finding time to study was a challenge. My supervisors helped me with that and when I went home, I would make flashcards to help me study," he said. "Once I learned each card really well, I would discard it to work on the others I was having trouble with. The key thing is to manage your study time instead of trying to cram a ton of knowledge in all at once. Altogether, I spent well over 100 hours studying. With not knowing what questions you're going to be asked, you have to study everything."
Many might feel more than 100 hours of studying might not be worth the hassle, but for Marvan, it was.
"It's absolutely worth it," he said with a smile. "You put yourself out there, you become a proficient NCO. You also get a ton of bonuses from the community from cash prizes to hotel stays and food. It's great!"
But with winning the Post NCO of the Year competition comes great responsibility.
"As far as winning the competition, that is amazing but now you have to fully carry yourself to a certain level at all times," Marvan added. "You have now fully put yourself out there and into the spotlight. It puts even more pressure on you. My own personal goal is to be sharp at whatever I do and anything I put my mind to, I do it to the best of my ability and I hope the trainee Soldiers I work with see that and learn from it. I want to be a good example for them; I hope they follow my example. I always try to encourage Soldiers to put themselves out there, to go to boards and accept the harder jobs.
"By me winning this competition, these Soldiers can see that (I'm) trying to lead by example and show them the good things that could happen to them if they work hard and be all they can be."
Marvan and Spc. Kenster Shannon were announced as the NCO and Soldier of the Year, respectively, at the annual award luncheon June 23 at the Officers and Civilians Club.