PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, California -- There were few secrets among the three men vying to be the 229th Military Intelligence Battalion's best platoon sergeant.

Through days of PT, road marches, land navigation, uniform inspections. Rifle marksmanship with weapons that've seen more time in an arms room than at the range. Writing essays after grueling training tasks. And finally facing a board of sergeants major.

Staff Sgts. Ryan Moorcroft and Brian Ivery and Sgt. 1st Class Rodriguez Jean-Phillippe were in it together, as they had been starting platoon sergeant school together at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, in September 2015.

But in June 2017, Ivery stood taller than his battle buddies, placing first and earning a trip to Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Sept. 3, to compete for the Training and Doctrine Command's platoon sergeant of the year.

"I very much welcome the next level, to represent Defense Language Institute. I would love to win," Ivery said. "My success there will be changing minds about military intelligence."

Master Sgt. Clint Rowe was battalion S-3 NCOIC and designed the competition to TRADOC specs.

"What set Staff Sgt. Ivery apart was his ability to calm himself down when we really started to stress the candidates, to try to force them into mistakes," he said. "You could tell he rehearsed being put under the gun and practiced his responses. It really allowed him to not get flustered and react accordingly."

Right after the 229th platoon sergeant competition, Rowe became Company B first sergeant and Ivery's first-line supervisor.

"When I took over at Bravo Company it was eye opening to see firsthand just how little our Soldiers right out of basic training know," Rowe said. "Staff Sgt. Ivery gets Soldiers right out of basic and brings them up to the level DLI and the Army needs them to be in order to succeed. His dedication and grit are paramount."

Ivery can come off as human Red Bull. That focus and intensity will be necessary at Fort Leonard Wood in a contest not against his teammates, but NCOs that have run the same gauntlet he conquered.

"I truly love competition, regardless of what level it is, and I'm a true believer in iron sharpens iron, so I have no other option to be the best at my duties," he said. "Motivation is definitely a driving factor in my day-to-day activities. I try to stay motivated no matter what is going on."