Warriors compete for title of Soldier, NCO of the Year

Story and photos by Sgt. Fay Conroy
21st TSC Public Affairs

BAUMHOLDER, Germany — There was blood and sweat, but no tears, as eight Soldiers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command battled it out to claim the title of Soldier and Non-commissioned Officer of the Year during a competition held in Baumholder June 28 to July 1.

The competitors arrived at Panzer Kaserne for an equipment layout and transportation to Baumholder, and as soon as they arrived, the competition began.

 They were given map coordinates to the site where they would set up camp. Once they dropped their equipment, they were taken immediately to the start point for the first event of the competition – the 12-mile ruck march up and down the hilly terrain of the Baumholder Training Area. After a small break came the next event – night land navigation.

“It wasn’t easy. The points were far off, and with the terrain, plus doing it at night, it was pretty challenging. You had to really know what you were doing in order to find the points,” said Staff Sgt. Charles Alexandre, a missile launching station operator with the 7th Air Defense Artillery Battalion.

The competition was fast paced and moved from one event to another quickly without allowing the Soldiers much time to rest. During the competition, the Soldiers did not know what events they would be competing in until they were given a briefing just moments before each event.

Events included a board appearance, which was presided over by Command Sgt. Maj. David Wood, 21st TSC command sergeant major, M16A2 rifle and M249 squad automatic weapons qualifications, reflexive fire with a 9 millimeter pistol and situational training exercise lanes in full mission-oriented protective posture.

 The competitors also did three rounds against combatives experts while wearing their Army combat helmets and body armor and took a physical fitness test on the last day of the competition.

Unbeknownst to the competitors, members of their units and their families were waiting for them when they arrived back at Panzer Kaserne where they enjoyed a barbecue to celebrate making it through the rigorous four-day competition.

After commending all of the Soldiers for their hard work and determination, Maj. Gen. Yves Fontaine, commanding general of the 21st TSC, announced Spc. Daniel Micek, representing the 18th Military Police Brigade, as the 21st TSC Soldier of the Year.

Major General Fontaine then announced Sgt. Jason Hancock, a transportation management coordinator representing the 16th Sustainment Brigade, as the 21st TSC NCO of the Year. This was the second time in a row Sergeant Hancock has won at this level. Last year he was named the 21st TSC Soldier of the Year.

 “When I did it as a Soldier, I was doing it for myself and being a NCO now, I’m doing it to be a role model for other Soldiers and to present to other Soldiers what can be done and what is expected of them,” he said.

Specialist Micek, who serves as a military police Soldier with the 615th Military Police Company, 709th Military Police Battalion, said it was the most physically demanding competition he’s ever done.

“It’s mainly focusing on how much heart you have and how much dedication you have,” he said.

Sergeant Hancock and Specialist Micek will represent the 21st TSC at the U.S. Army Europe Soldier and NCO of the Year competition later this year.