JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va.—Five Transportation Soldiers endured three jam-packed day of traveling, ruck marching, simulated combat scenarios, land navigation, first aid, performance checks and maintenance challenges and board proceedings during a competition to earn the title of the 597th Transportation Brigade Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Quarter at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va. March 14-16.
The Soldier of the Quarter competitors were Spc. Victor Vasquez, 832nd Transportation Bn., and Spc. Tommy McInnis, 842nd Transportation Bn.
The NCO of the Quarter competitors were Staff Sgt. Thomas Barry, 842nd Transportation Bn., Sgt. Jonathanael Laureano, 832nd Transportation Bn. and Sgt. Jeremiah Smith, 841st Transportation Bn.
"The competition is designed to test Soldiers physically and mentally," said Capt. Nicholas Mann, training and readiness officer. "We throw a lot at them in two days to make it more of a challenge."
The first event was a 12-mile foot march, with a 35lb ruck sack.
The competitors and their sponsors arrived to the brigade headquarters at 2 a.m. for a briefing and a weigh in.
Sgt. Laurealano completed the ruck march in one hour, 40 minutes and 21 seconds, followed by Staff Sgt. Thomas Barry in two hours, 20 minutes and 45 seconds.
Spc. Tommy McInnis, 842nd Transportation Bn., said he felt happy after completing the ruck march because his seven mile pace was better than expected.
"I'm a little crampy, hungry and sore but I'm ready for the next event," McInnis said.
The next event was an Advanced Land Navigation Couse.
The competitors were measured on their ability to find four out of five points in less than four hours using a compass, map, and a mechanical pencil, according to Sgt. Yoana Garcia, training NCO.
Garcia was responsible for preparing all training schedules, calendars and briefings and ensuing that logistical support was provided throughout the competition. She also provided moral support during the competition and kept pushing the competitors throughout all the events.
The other events included treating a casualty and conducting preventive maintenance checks and services on a light wheeled vehicle.
The Soldiers agreed the competition was a good opportunity to get out of their offices and spend time training as a team.
Staff Sgt. Thomas Barry, a Transportation Management Coordinator assigned to the 842nd Transportation Bn. said he likes to participate in every competition because he has a competitive spirit and enjoys the chance to travel, try new things and experience new places and cultures.
Spc. Victor Vasquez, a cargo specialist assigned to the 689th Rapid Port Opening Element, 832nd Transportation Bn., said he is happy to be back in a competition and he feels prepared.
Vasquez represented the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command during the Army Material Command Best Warrior Competition in 2021.
"Competitions are a great way to get your name out there and prove that you are not just here to pass the time," said competitor Sgt Jeremiah Smith, 841st Transportation Bn.
Although Smith was injured, he completed all of the events and said he is determined to compete in more competitions because he plans to have a long Army career.
The final event was a board evaluation that assessed each competitors professional military knowledge and military bearing.
The FY22Q2 NCO of the Quarter was Sgt. Jonathanael Laureano.
The FY22Q2 Soldier of the Quarter was Spc. Victor Vasquez.
The Soldiers will be nominated to compete in the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command Best Warrior Competition in May 2022.
The next brigade Soldier and NCO of the Quarter competition is scheduled June 2022.