FORT EUSTIS, Va. (Sept. 27, 2012) -- Soldiers seeking the title of 2012 Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant of the Year encountered an unanticipated turn of events at the competition going on now at Fort Eustis, Va.

Competitors are purposely unaware of the order of events, but past competitions can sometimes hint a certain order. Not the case this year. The competition began with a command sergeants major board. Usually, this event takes place toward the end of the competition.

The winner, who will be announced during a ceremony Sept. 28, will serve a one-year tour at the Initial Military Training Center of Excellence, Fort Eustis, Va., as an enlisted adviser. In this role, he or she will provide ground-level experience and insight into the Army's initial entry training.

Advanced Individual Training platoon sergeants are top-performing professional noncommissioned officers from virtually all branches of the Army who play a critical role in the success of AIT training. After basic combat training, new Soldiers attend Advanced Individual Training, where they become experts in their specific military occupational specialties. The Advanced Individual Training platoon sergeants mentor the new Soldiers, working with them after classes and on weekends to teach and reinforce technical lessons and WTBD.