FORT STEWART, Ga. — Soldiers from 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, competed in a virtual board for the top honor of being named the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2020 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2020 Soldier of the Year May 7 at Konotop, Drawsko-Pomorskie Training Area, Poland.
Sgt. Mary Cloninger and Spc. Tabitha Caddell, both combat medics assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Troop, 6th Battalion, 8th Calvary Regiment, were named the 2ABCT NCO and Soldier of the year. They were selected to represent the brigade in the boards after standing out amongst their peers at the battalion level.
“I feel very honored to be selected to represent 2ABCT,” Cloninger said. “This is a unit with a lot of capable Soldiers and NCOs; I did my best to represent 2ABCT well.”
Caddell added that this is her second board since joining the Army. She felt nervous because she would be in front of Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Coffey, the division senior enlisted advisor.
Cloninger and Caddell studied and prepared rigorously for this board, but the board was unique in itself for being held virtually from Poland. Senior leaders alongside the brigade’s signal section used video chat to connect with the board members from Fort Stewart. Connecting the Soldiers to the board members was a unique challenge with a six-hour time difference, but nonetheless the board was held and completed.
“It went very smoothly considering the circumstances,” Cloninger said. She expressed that she had never participated in a virtual board before. This was the first time 2ABCT held a virtual board from Poland.
“The board helps build confidence,” said Caddell. “This board, just like any other, tests your military bearing and the confidence you have in yourself.”
If they are selected during the division boards, they will go on to represent 2ABCT in the 18th Airborne Corps NCO and Soldier of the Year board.