By James Brabenec, Fort SillMarch 28, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla. (March 28, 2013) -- Platoon Sergeant (Sgt. 1st Class) Kevin Everett thrives on competition like he did in winning the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill Platoon Sergeant of the Year March 12-15.
Relating what perks he received for winning the competition reveals the heart and professionalism of this B Battery, 2nd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery noncommissioned officer.
"Everything I learned I've read so many regulations, more than I've read in the other nine years I've been in the Army," he said, nodding in agreement to a stack of regulations about 12-15 inches high that he studied for the event. "I enjoy competition; another platoon sergeant, a squad leader and I compete all the time, we'll make up things just to see who's number one."
He said those contests keep him on his toes and help him realize though he's climbing the enlisted ranks, gaining knowledge and responsiblity, he still has much to learn.
"It's good to have someone to challenge you to keep you on edge," he said.
1st Sgt. Allen Walker Jr., B/2-6th ADA first sergeant, entered Everett's name for the competition even though the platoon sergeant only had five months time on station with the unit.
"I told him, 'there's no doubt in my mind you have a really good chance of winning this competition, and I'm going to show you how,'" he said. "A lot came from his effort, but he also took guidance to the few things I told him."
That effort started about three weeks prior to the competition when his normal 12- to 14-hour days ballooned to 16-17 hours that included work and time to study regulations.
Any spare time at work also went toward study, and spare time is certainly at a premium for an NCO who said he's very hands-on and thorough in his duties.
Many lunch hours he and other competitors from his brigade went before mock boards that tested their knowledge and self-discipline.
Those question-and-answer rehearsals prepared him during the formal board when one member asked him the significant change in October to Army Regulation 350-1. The vague question didn't jog anything in Everett's memory.
"I kept my composure, and that's what it's all about. Military boards aren't always about answering the questions correctly, there's a good chance you won't know everything, and they will look to see if you maintain your bearing," he said.
Everett said he enjoyed the back-to-basic land navigation contest, because when advanced electronics either don't work or are unavailable, a Soldier still needs to know how to use a compass, map and protractor.
He also liked the combat confidence course as it was the first course he did for a timed competition since he attended air assault school in 2004.
"Even though it wasn't the same type, it showed me where I was at physically -- that I'm still in pretty good shape; I wasn't disappointed." He later verified that finishing the sit-ups and push-ups portion of his fitness test first.
That drive to excel and willingness to do things that sets Everett and other contestants apart from their peers are what make these competitions great, said Carter.
There's five to 10 Soldiers on post thinking the same way that they are the best," he said, "and they are there to prove to themselves, their peers and anyone else that is true."
Everett will apply this recognition to the words he shares with those he leads.
"It's not just about competing against our peers and seeing who's the best. We do these competitions for our Soldiers to show them no matter your rank or level you're at you should still strive to be the best."
His competitive streak again rose to the surface when he reminded everyone in artillery that ADA again won platoon sergeant of the year for the third year in a row. Even so, he acknowledged both FA NCOs were tough competitors.
He said he hopes one day to make sergeant major and even become a command sergeant major so he can share all he's learned in his career. At this point, he already leads and mentors about 45 Soldiers or junior NCOs.
"Nine and a half years ago when I first went through basic training at Fort Knox, Ky., I would have never guessed I would be a sergeant first class platoon sergeant right now," he said. "It's nice to represent my unit and win, because it puts everyone in the spotlight.
"Knowing the platoon sergeant of the year is in Bravo 2-6 looks good for the first sergeant and commander, too," he said.