The U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School has named its 2015 Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year for 2015.
Sgt. 1st Class Jaekuen Lee, an instructor with 4th Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group, (Airborne) was selected as the USAJFKSWCS 2015 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Spc. Jeffrey Walter, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Warfare Training Group (Airborne) was selected as the 2015 USAJFKSWCS Soldier of the Year.
They were among eight competitors fighting for the honor of representing the command at the upcoming U.S. Army Special Operation Command NCO and Soldier of the Year competition.
"The competition was challenging and enjoyable at the same time. When you place Green Berets and other ARSOF Soldiers in competition with one another, you see yourself performing harder and faster than you otherwise would," said Lee.
The competition was broken down into four days. Day one began with an Army Physical Fitness Test and weigh-in to measure the physical fitness level of each Soldier. Upon completion of the APFT, the competitors attended an in-processing brief where the units submitted their competitors' nomination packets, followed by a general subject exam and a written essay.
On day two, the Soldiers competed in a mystery event: a five-mile run. The mystery event preceded the combatives event, which tested hand-to-hand combative skills. After battling each other on the mats at the combatives event, the competitors moved to the day/night land navigation course.
" The board is always the most nerve racking event and requires the most preparation of course, but I would say that the Land Navigation event ended up being the biggest challenge for me," explained Walter.
Day three began with a weapons live fire/stress shoot that tested the competitors marksmanship skills while under stress. Following the shoot, they moved to the hands-on warrior tasks.
On the final day, the competitors took part in a board where they were asked questions on topics ranging from military leadership and counseling to Army history.
"I strongly recommend this competition to other Soldiers and NCOs. As a garrison training unit, many permanent party personnel have to facilitate training for other students, which leaves little time to conduct training for themselves. The NCOY/SOY competition affords Soldiers and NCOs the opportunity to execute Level 10 and Level 20 Warrior Tasks they otherwise wouldn't be able to fit into their training calendars during their time at SWCS," said Lee.
Despite the demanding nature of the four-day competition, many of those who attended expressed how beneficial this competition is for all who participated.
"It truly is an honor to represent my section with the distinction of NCO of the Year. The high level of readiness expected of the cadre in the section I work in is what facilitated this win. They deserve the credit because I couldn't even compete if they weren't willing to pick up the slack in my absence," concluded Lee.