Two Noncommissioned Officers competed in the DEVCOM FY21 NCO of the Year Competition, showing their physical strength as well as their mental capacity for more than 20 military and government topics. DEVCOM Soldier Center’s Sgt. Alexander Nguyen received the top honor at the end of the three-day event.
“Congratulations to our noncommissioned officers who participated in the competition, and especially Sgt. Nguyen for winning the competition. Our NCOs are a vital link between the operational side of the Army and our thousands of scientists, engineers, analysts and support personnel. The Army sends us some of its best and brightest to help us build the capabilities Soldiers need, so it’s important that they continue to take part and excel in the same kinds of competitions their teammates are doing in the rest of the Army,” said Maj. Gen. John George, DEVCOM commanding general.
This year’s competition, which was held April 5-7 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, began with the Army Combat Fitness Test where Nguyen and Sgt. Corey Burrell, an enlisted S&T advisor at Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center, competed in various scored events including a three repetition deadlift, standing power throw, and hand release pushups, as well as a sprint-drag, which included dragging a 90-pound sled while carrying two, 40-pound kettlebells. They finished the AFCT with a two mile run.
Then, the Soldiers marched 7.2 miles, carrying a 35 pound rucksack, which was followed by a shooting competition at Aberdeen Proving Ground’s M-Range. The day ended with mystery event – a surprise obstacle course where the Soldiers moved up, over, under and through various obstacles including windows and walls, while carrying a mannequin with weights. The obstacle course also included crawling under a netting while switching between low, high and backward crawls.
Nguyen, who is a squad leader in the SC Headquarters Research and Development Detachment, led the competition at the end of the first day, completing the rucksack march in 1 hour and 17 minutes and the obstacle course in just under 4 minutes.
“This is the first time I have competed in a competition of this depth, and I had a lot of fun. I competed in an event in 2016, and I won Soldier of the Month for my battalion, then placed second as Soldier of the Quarter,” Nguyen said.
During the second part of the competition, the Soldiers were tested on their knowledge of more than 20 military and government topics, including military leadership, Army history, weapons, Equal Employment Opportunity and SHARP programs and AR 670-1, which is the Army’s dress code and grooming standards. Nguyen won this part of the competition by a narrow one point margin.
“We wanted to ensure we pushed the Soldiers to their physical limits. Given our new norm [COVID environment], we knew it would be easy for competitors to find time to study, but would they find or make time to be in their best physical form. We definitely challenged them physically and mentally,” said Sgt. Maj. Hugh Jones, DEVCOM G3 Sgt. Maj. Jones was one of the five board members who conducted the second part of the competition.
Nguyen will represent DEVCOM at the Army Futures and Concepts Center NCO of the Year competition, which will be held April 26-30 at Ft. Bliss, Texas. The FCC competition will include four mystery events, a pistol competition, an obstacle course and a written test. If Nguyen wins this competition, he will compete in the 2021 AFC Best Warrior and Army Best Warrior competition.