They are our leaders and teachers. They are the first to arrive to work and the last to leave. They are the best at what they do. And for this quarter, they met at Redstone to see who would become the Non-Commissioned Officer of the Quarter.

Four of 59th Ordnance Brigade's best NCOs across the Army battled April 16-17 to see who would take home this quarter's top honor. In the two days, these NCOs were pushed and weathered. They were tested on their leadership skill, basic Soldier skills, marksmanship, simulation training and fitness.

Staff Sgt. Scottie Williams, advanced individual training platoon sergeant with B Company, 73rd Ordnance Battalion, and Staff Sgt. Elizabeth Orozco, EOD instructor with 59th, were the top finalists. After the formal board competition, Williams was announced the winner.

"I feel great right now," joked Williams after winning the competition. "The entire event was challenging and full of great competitors. The NCOs in this competition, they really push you do be your best. One minute you think you're out, and they push you back in. Everyone challenged each other and we really had a great competition because of that."

"I did all right. I'm the runner-up, so that's pretty good," said the slightly disappointed Orozco. She will represent 59th during the post competition in the next few months.

The competition began bright and early on the 16th with the NCOs' first task, the EST 2000. After they completed their mission, they went on to the next few events, testing the mind and body of each competitor.

"We went over basic marksmanship and land navigation," Williams said. "And after your body is completely sore, you take a (physical training) test and a written exam, followed by a formal board with the respective sergeants major of our units. It was tough the whole way through."

"I thought the hardest part of this competition was the board and the PT test," Orozco said. "The questions for the board were different and the sergeants major on the board took the time to see who we were and questioned us on our positions, which made things interesting."

When competing against the best NCOs of 59th, the Soldiers had to go above and beyond to study for these tasks.

"I drilled my chain-of-command for as much information and insight that they could give me and studied everything that I could," Orozco said.

"I had my Soldiers quiz me, other platoon sergeants quiz me, and anyone who would stop by, I would hand them my book and say, 'hey, throw me a question,'" Williams said. "It was constant training and studying."

As the new NCO of the Quarter, Williams will head back to his unit at Fort Gordon, Ga., as a hero to his Soldiers.

"By going back to (my company as the NCO of the Quarter winner), it shows my Soldiers you should always try to be better than the next person," he said. "We have great leaders before us, but we must strive to accomplish what they did and even more. This shows my Soldiers that even at my rank, you never stop learning and achieving in the Army. The best thing I have taken from this competition is the knowledge to say you can accomplish anything you put your mind to and hard work pays off. You can achieve anything in the Army with hard work."

Orozco agreed with Williams. "This shows our Soldiers that we are just like them," Orozco said. "We have to go to boards and we get drilled just as much as they do. But this also shows them we are leading by example and anyone can prevail."

As for now, Williams and Orozco will return to their jobs and begin studying for the next competition. They both admit it is tiring, but worth the efforts.

"The most challenging part of these past few days was going through all the tasks and trying to be on top of them all," Williams said. "Knowing the person right beside you wasn't slowing down one bit, it kept your head in the game. There's so much going on, it get a little crazy and very exhausting, but well worth it."