SAGAMIHARA, Japan – Eight noncommissioned officers and Soldiers assigned to various units throughout 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade competed in a grueling test of their physical and mental abilities during a quarterly contest at Sagami General Depot, Japan and Andersen Air Force Base, Guam Nov. 16-17.
In the end, Sgt. Robert W. Redmond, military police with 14th Missile Defense Battery, won the title of noncommissioned officer of the first quarter, and Spc. Christopher Romo, unit supply specialist with 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery Regiment, won the title of Soldier of the first quarter.
“I joined this competition to represent the 14th MDB and show everyone what we can do,” said Redmond. “The most rewarding part was the comradery I developed with other participants and the ability to teach Soldiers during the competition to improve their confidence.”
The competition’s events included the Army Combat Fitness Test; timed disassembling, reassembling and function checks of the M4 carbine rifle, M9 pistol and M249 light machine gun; react to suspected chemical agent lane; a tactical combat casualty care medical scenario assessment; a 12-mile ruck march with a three-hour time limit; Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System programing proficiency assessment; a written test; and a formal board before interim Command Sgt. Maj. George S. Rupprecht, and first sergeants.
“Competition breeds excellence, we do the Pacific Guardian of the Quarter Competition to foster esprit de corps and camaraderie amongst members of the brigade,” said Rupprecht. “It helps them assess their strengths and weaknesses and makes our Guardian team better-rounded on both intellectual and physical aspects of Soldiering. We also use this competition to feed into U.S. Army Japan’s and the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Commands quarterly competitions along with the Best Warrior Competitions.”
Sgt. 1st Class Galen Corbell, air defense battle management system operator and event organizer, said events were based on common Soldier tasks that are not specific to any military occupational specialty and it was a close race all the way to the end.
“The NCOs and Soldiers definitely came to compete and it was anyone’s competition,” said Corbell. “It all came down to their performance in the board. One of the closest competitions I have ever seen.”
Event organizers ensured COVID-19 prevention measures were adhered to during the competition such as wearing masks, sanitizing equipment after every use, and maintaining social distance.
“We have units in both Guam and Japan so this was the first time our brigade organized the competition in two countries due to the global health condition travel restrictions,” said Corbell. “We focused on ensuring the safety of participants with COVID-19 prevention measures without degrading the challenges of the competition.”
The winners each received an Army Achievement Medal. They will also go on to compete in the U.S. Army Japan Noncommissioned Officer, Soldier of the Year Competition.
NCO and Soldier of the Quarter runner ups Sgt. Roger M. Lee, Patriot launching station enhanced operator/maintainer with 1-1 ADA, and Pfc. Izak S. Ramirez, Patriot fire control enhanced operator/maintainer with 10th Missile Defense Battery, received brigade coins of excellence for their performance.
In addition to the winners, competitors included Sgt. Derrick D. Avent, automated logistical specialist; Spc. Derrick Andrews, unit supply specialist, both with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 38th ADA Brigade; Sgt. Nicholas A. Pangelinan, Patriot fire control enhanced operator/maintainer; and Spc. Asher E. Goodwin, petroleum supply specialist, both with Echo Battery, 3rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.
Lt. Col. James L. Crenshaw, brigade deputy commanding officer, spoke at the closing ceremony and asked members of the brigade to celebrate the Pacific Guardians who participated by emulating them.
“On behalf of the brigade commander, who is conducting battle field circulation with one of our subordinate units, congratulations and well done,” said Crenshaw. “This event was filled with many challenges like the board and the ruck march among others. Your Army careers will be filled with challenges. Continue pursuing excellence continue overcoming any and all challenges in front of you, just like you did this week. Again, congratulations and well done.”