FORT BUCHANAN, PUERTO RICO – Approximately twenty Soldiers from the U.S. Army Reserve-Puerto Rico striving for career progression, participated in a junior enlisted promotion board, Dec. 11, at the Mission Command Support Group (MCSG) headquarters, presided by Command Sgt. Luis Martinez, senior noncommissioned officer at the 49th Multifunctional Medical Battalion (MMB) Command Sergeant Major.
The junior enlisted promotion board takes place every month at the 1st Mission Support Command (MSC), the largest federal U.S. Army in the Caribbean, providing Soldiers with the opportunity to advance to the next rank.
According to Martinez, every Army Reserve Soldier must be evaluated with the same standards and does not matter if the Soldier is on active duty or a member of the Troop Program Unit.
"If we want to build this organization with great leaders, the standards must be the same for everybody; it does not matter if the Soldier is part of Troop Unit Program or the active-duty force," said Martinez, a native from Juana Diaz, Puerto Rico.
The promotion board consists of at least three voting members and the recorder as a non-voting member. The president of the board is the senior member. If the board consists of noncommissioned officers, then the president of the board usually is a command sergeant major.
The board is an extremely demanding event that emphasizes on the Soldier’s personal appearance, oral expression, conversation skills, knowledge of world affairs, awareness of military programs, and knowledge of basic soldiering, among other areas.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, hit the globe, the command has been taking the necessary precautions to mitigate any outbreak, while proactively maintaining the readiness of the force. The promotion boards are not the exception.
Multiple Soldiers appearing before the board, demonstrated self-confidence, but at the same time recognized that it is very challenging to control the nerves.
“Every step is hard, from long hours of study, getting dressed and executing, but dealing with your mind and nerves when it comes to performing is the most challenging part of this event," said Sgt. Jose Farrao, a Property Book noncommissioned officer at the 49th MMB.
While waiting for their turn, other Soldiers reflected about the importance of good leadership in the organization.
"I couldn’t be here if it wasn't for my family, and those great leaders that paved the way for me, especially two great females leaders: Sgt 1st Class Elizabeth Donnelly and Thania Cesareo, who mentored me since I was a private,” said emotionally Sgt. Arelis Piñeiro Rojas, Human Resources from the 77th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion.
Other Soldiers expressed their goal of becoming role models to other troops across the command.
"I want to become an example for those young Soldiers who just joined the Army, by demonstrating what right looks like, and teaching them that we must go after career progression, and always setting an example to follow, as my two previous mentors did with me," added Piñeiro Rojas, a native from the Coto neighborhood, in Isabela Puerto Rico.
Events such as this promotion board, clearly demonstrate how the largest federal U.S. Army Command in the Caribbean offers multiple opportunities for career progression, with an inclusive environment, where everyone has an equal opportunity to excel.
"We must continue promoting, educating, and cultivating an environment of inclusiveness. These events are a great opportunity to provide an equal opportunity for everybody to get the chance to advance in their career based on their potential," added Martinez.