FORT RUCKER, Ala. (November 17, 2011) -- Fort Rucker named its noncommissioned officer and Soldier of the first quarter at a ceremony held at the headquarters building Nov. 10.

The ceremony to honor Sgt. James Hager, NCO of the quarter, and Spc. Bradley Boone, Soldier of the quarter, began with the posting of the colors, the invocation by Chaplain (Col.) Dennis R. Newton, and the singing of the "National Anthem," " Above the Best" and "The Army Song."

Boone said that being named Soldier of the quarter was "a great honor, I'm proud to represent my company, my brigade and my battalion."

"I feel like it's a very prestigious award," said Hager. "I spent a lot of time and preparation to get here. I had to go through several boards and I think this was a great opportunity for me."

In order to be named NCO or Soldier of the quarter, there is a process that spans a three-month period according to Staff Sgt. Harry Coronel, 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment and organizer for the ceremony.

"The individuals are picked by their chain of command and company up to a battalion level, challenging all the other companies until it goes up to a brigade level. Brigades will then do the same thing, and pick their number one out of all their battalions, companies and squads to go on and represent them in the post boards."

The tests that the Soldiers were required to go through to compete for this award included a physical fitness test, a hands-on event where they were required to complete 10 basic Army courses and a question-and-answer portion in front of a panel of judges, said Hager.

"My basic Army knowledge helped me win this award," he went on to say.

Boone feels that his preparation and discipline helped him push through to attain the title.

"I hope that I set an example for my peers and that people will continue to recognize what good preparation can achieve," he said. "I would say to those that wish to win this award to make sure you continue to work on your physical training throughout the year, and study your regulations to the letter."

Guest speaker, Command Sgt. Maj. George R. Kingston, 1st Aviation Brigade, spoke about the importance of choosing the NCO and Soldier of the quarter and competing through each of the boards. "All you're doing is honing your skills and knowledge," said, Kingston, "and this, in turn, gives us a better tool to use as a Soldier for our Army."

"It's about a greater cause," he said. "These young men today have started the journey on identifying themselves as something much more than an individual in an Army, but being part of that Army and a team player. They sat in a room somewhere and dedicated some time to applying themselves to studying and honing their all around knowledge of being a Soldier.

"They weren't just competing against themselves, but competing against their peers, trying to one-up the Soldier to the left and right. When they took that challenge, they were making a sacrifice," said Kingston.

He added that the Army owes Soldiers the opportunity to better themselves and set themselves apart from their peers, and this award gives them that opportunity.

Kingston went on to thank both Boone and Hager for caring enough about the Army to be willing improve upon themselves and stand up as individuals.

"That lets old guys, like me, know that our Army is going to be in good hands in the future," he said.