FORT SILL, Okla. (Sept. 5, 2013) -- The Fires Center of Excellence hosted its annual career counselor of the year competition Aug. 14-15.

Five noncommissioned officers contended for the title that determined which NCOs from the FCoE would compete at the Training and Doctrine Command competition in September. Additionally, Career Counselors from Fort Sill's tenant units were allowed to compete for Tenant Unit Career Counselor of the Year.

Winners from the active component were Sgt. 1st Class Carida Wannemacher, 434th Field Artillery Brigade, and Staff Sgt. Bruce Peltier, 214th Fires Brigade. Sgt. 1st Class Lesa Worrell, Headquarters Detachment FCOE, was selected as the Reserve component career counselor of the year.

"Opening up this competition to non-TRADOC units [made] this event that much better," said Sgt. Maj. Russell Paradis, Fort Sill command career counselor. "Career counselors are typically competitive by nature and want to perform well whether they are directly or indirectly in competition with their counterparts."

Paradis said contests like this help develop NCOs as they progress in their Army careers.

"It also prepares them for their major command's annual competition if they elect to compete," he said.

The competition consisted of the Army Physical Fitness Test, a 50-question written exam and a formal board.

Career counselors are vital to their unit's retention mission and are influential in a Soldier's progression through the ranks. Additionally, they serve as special staff advisers to command teams for retention matters, career development, separations and management.