By Charles SteitzApril 4, 2014
CAMP HANSEN, Okinawa, Japan - Six soldiers from 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery (Regiment), participated in a two-day Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year Competition Feb. 19 and 21. The competition was designed to enhance specific skill sets as well as increase proficiency at various levels.
"Whether it was mentally, physically, or emotionally challenging, competitions like this build and show the total soldier concept. The U.S. Army expects soldiers not only to be physically and mentally fit, but also knowledgeable, resilient, professional and ready to fight," explained Staff Sgt. Juan Paulo F. Bordador, operations noncommissioned officer, 1-1 ADA and lead coordinator for this competition.
The components within this competition are referred as multiple "pillars." The significance of the "pillars" serves as the guiding principles for success during the competition.
Technically proficient: Knowing their job, at their level and all levels below them, and able to produce positive results.
Self motivated: Not needing to be led every step of the way to complete a task.
Appearance: Maintains their uniforms and personal appearance like a professional soldier.
Military bearing: Soldiers know and follow military standards and regulations.
Physically fit: Able to regularly pass the Army physical fitness test and body fat composition.
Mentally Fit: Able to focus on the accomplishment of the mission.
Communicator: Able to effectively communicate intent in a professional manner.
Educated: Seeks self improvement not only professionally, but also within their personal life.
"Competitions like this demonstrate the type of soldiers we are now, ones who train and who are defending the freedoms and liberties we cherish as a nation," concluded Bordador.
Throughout the competition soldiers moved through the vigorous training modules with professionalism and agility. Demonstrated by the attached images the competitors were sent to compete in a hypothetical combat environment during a medical situational training exercise. The scenario is as follows. Soldiers found themselves in a hostile environment, where one of their battle buddies became injured by small arms fire. Soldiers are then tested to treat an injured soldier. In addition, their endurance is tested when they have to carry a 200-pound medical mannequin across the muddy jungle while suppressing enemy fire. If that isn't enough, realistic blood is spewing in their face blocking their vision and increasing their stress level. When the soldier thinks the event is over, they are then bombarded with a multitude of questions by a local reporter. At this point, they are tested on their knowledge on how to handle and respond to sensitive situations (OPSEC) with other reporting agencies.
"What I took away from the competition was that it keeps soldiers on their toes with their knowledge of basic soldier skills. I also took away that with the experience gained from the competition it has made me a better soldier," said, Spc. Francisco Tovar, 14th Air Defense early warning system operator, Charlie Battery, 1-1 ADA and winner of the Soldier of the Year.
Tovar was joined by the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Sgt. Gary Paschall, 14th Patriot Fire Control Enhanced Operator, Bravo Battery, 1-1 ADA.
Other participants included: Sgt. Robert Longo, Sgt. Amanda Vancamp, Sgt. Brishitie Tovar and Sgt. Zachary Iverson all with the 1-1 ADA.