JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wa.- Staff Sgt. Louise Igoy assigned to 14th Brigade Engineer Battalion and Spc. Zachary Sanford, assigned to 2nd Brigade Support Battalion, won the NCO and Soldier of the Quarter Award, on North Fort Lewis, Wash., Dec. 18, 2020.
“It [the Soldier of the Quarter Board] paints me a picture of: are my staff sergeants or platoon sergeants really training my guys, or training the soldiers within the organization to go to combat, to actually deploy, are they actually ready physically and mentally,” said Brigade Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Syzmaszek, “that’s extremely important.”
The NCO and Soldier of the Quarter Awards represent a series of tasks that include: an ACFT, operation of two key weapons systems, successfully performing two key medical tasks, day and night land navigation, a board procedure and an essay between 500-700 words on an assigned topic.
The board procedure focuses on situational-based questions deriving from Army Doctrine Publications, Field Manuals or Army Regulations. During this quarter, the board had a particular focus on the ‘Three Corrosives’ which are: suicide, racism/extremism, and sexual assault/harassment. Participants are asked open ended questions on what they would do if confronted with these issues.
Igoy, winner of the NCO of the Quarter, enlisted into the army as a 91B, a wheeled vehicle mechanic. He said that he is proud of winning Soldier of the Month, being recognized for his efforts during a previous readiness training exercise and becoming a NCO.
When asked about winning the NCO of the Quarter, Igoy said, “I think it’s an achievement not just winning the board, actually looking at the MOI (Memorandum of Instruction), the different ADP’s (Army Doctrine Publication) and all that stuff. It’s also for my knowledge and expanding my knowledge base and knowing what I’m going to be doing in the future as a leader.”
“I think Staff Sgt. Igoy won because of his experience and then his drive,” said Syzmaszek. He went on to list details of Igoy’s goals, work ethic and family life. The command sergeant major expressed confidence when he said that he thinks Igoy is going to be the next Audi Murphy challenge winner this upcoming quarter.
Sanford, winner of the Soldier of the Quarter, is a combat medic specialist, 68W, and his second board experience came during the competition and he was still unsure of how well he would do.
“I try to study as much as I can,” Sanford said, “I was doing a bunch of college [courses] at the time. I just walked in there with confidence.” Sanford already has two Army Achievement Medals; one for providing immunization shots and the other for providing medical transport to soldiers showing signs of Covid-19.
Syzmaszek said, “I think Sanford understood the actual corrosives better than anyone else, he explained them, he understood them in detail, the way he answered questions in the board was really good, physically fit, and his land navigation was extremely good.”
The quarterly board is a stepping stone to other competitions such as Best Warrior and Audi Murphy competitions Syzmaszek said. These quarterly competitions are open to anyone and have tested the readiness of soldiers across the nation.