By T. Anthony BellMay 24, 2010
FORT LEE, Va. (May 20, 2010) -- A team from U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Drum, N.Y., blew into Fort Lee May 18 and swept the 2010 Installation Management Command-Northeast Region Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year Competition held at the Regimental Club.
Sgt. Joshua Shober and Spc. Daniel McNutt beat out Soldiers from the U.S. Military Academy and Fort Lee. The two are military policemen assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAG, Fort Drum.
All contestants, attired in dress uniforms, faced a six-member board of Northeast Region command sergeants major. They were asked a series of questions in regards to current events, Army history and military knowledge.
McNutt had few words after being announced as the winner but appeared to be relieved.
"I'm really happy about winning," said McNutt after a lunchtime awards ceremony. "It really made all the studying worth it."
McNutt also said that preparation and confidence were factors in his victory.
"I was confident going in," he said, "and talking to the other guys, they all seemed confident too. But I was pretty sure that Sgt. Shober and I would do pretty well."
Shober lived up to the expectation but was cautious in his mental approach.
"I tried not to get my hopes up," he said, "but I felt like I went out and did the best I could."
The "best he could" entailed a lot of studying.
"I just got off of two weeks leave," said Shober, "so it definitely took some work to keep up the studying instead of swimming and relaxing in the pool."
Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Chavez, IMCOM NE Region command sergeant major and president of the board, said all the competitors demonstrated a depth of preparation.
"They were all good competitors," he said. "They all had a good attitude about coming in here and being winners. They're all winners. Unfortunately, only two could be selected as NCO and Soldier of the Year, but I'm proud of them all."
The winners earned an Apple iPod, a $200 Army and Air Force Exchange Service gift certificate and a trophy. They will now move on to the IMCOM-National Capital Region-level of the competition, which will feature a number of Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. Command Sgt. Maj. John McNeirney, USAG, Fort Drum command sergeant major, said his charges will have to prepare much harder.
"We will go back," he said, "and we will hone some of those areas they can do better at (from the feedback provided by board members) and they will have to reinforce their proficiencies in warriors drills, weapons proficiencies, road marches and things of that nature."
The IMCOM-NE Region event is a pre-runner to the 2010 U.S. Army Soldier and NCO "Best Warrior" Competition scheduled for October at Fort Lee.