By Sgt. Brian R. Williams
21st Signal Brigade Public Affairs
FORT A.P. HILL, Va. - Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Czuba, 21st Signal Brigade Command Sergeant Major, announced two signal Soldiers as the winners of the Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year competition held March 7- 10, at Fort A.P. Hill, Va.
Sergeant. Teng Lin, a Microwave Systems Operator-Maintainer for the 114th Signal Battalion, was named the NCO of the Year and Pfc. Ethan Berry, a Radio Operator-Maintainer assigned to the Forward Detachment, 56th Signal Battalion, Fort Sam Houston, Texas was named Soldier of the Year for the Brigade.
After four rigorous days and nights of competing, Lin and Berry became the most outstanding NCO and Soldier of the year for the Brigade, charged to provide and defend global information capabilities to enable joint and combined Battle Command across the full spectrum of operations from the President of the United States to the warfighter and other Federal Agencies.
The 21st Signal Brigade is geographically dispersed at 12 locations across CONUS, Central and South America, and supports national, strategic, and tactical missions worldwide.
The grueling competition included ten other competitors who represented subordinate units within the 21st Signal Brigade. Among the competitors were the winners of the Soldier and NCO of the quarter competition for 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th quarters respectively.
The Soldier and NCO winners of the 1st Quarter, were Pfc. Matthew Mathis from the 56th Signal Battalion, Fort Gordon, Ga., and Sgt. Teng Lin from the 114th Signal Battalion, Fort Detrick, Md.
The Soldier and NCO winners of the 2nd Quarter, were Spc. Curtis Min from the 302nd Signal Battalion, Fort Detrick, Md., and Sgt. Lemuel Hatcher from the 114th Signal Battalion, Fort Detrick, Md.
The Soldier and NCO winners of the 3rd Quarter, were Pfc. Ethan Berry from the 56th Signal Battalion, and Sgt. Joshua Mendez from the 302nd Signal Battalion, Fort Detrick, Md.
The Soldier and NCO winners of the 4th Quarter, were Spc. Donald Dunn from the 302nd Signal Battalion, Fort Detrick, Md., and Sgt. Sayyed Hussain from the 114th Signal Battalion, Fort Detrick, Md.
The winners of the Soldier and NCO of the year competition were chosen based on their performance in events ranging from a written examination and submission of a written essay, five different Army Warrior tasks, the Army Physical Fitness Test, a day and night land navigation course, qualifying with the M-16A2 rifle and, finally, an appearance in front of a panel of senior enlisted Soldiers at an administrative board.
All participants were challenged physically, mentally and emotionally. The tasks gauged the Soldiers' overall knowledge and ability to handle stress.
Competitors arrived here March 7, to lay out all of their required military clothing and equipment for inspection.
Upon completion of the inspection, a written test was given to the participants that assessed their knowledge of basic Soldier skills, as well as the multitude of Army programs, regulations, and services.
Later that afternoon, the competitors were tested on their ability to complete "Army Warrior Tasks."
These tasks ranged from how to properly clear a weapon to how to don a protective mask. All these tasks had a time constraint to simulate real world situations.
The participants were up early the next morning to conduct the next event, the Army Physical Fitness Test. Shortly afterwards, the competitors left to test their marksmanship on the M16 rifle in an indoor range known as the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000. The electronic firing range allows them to operate weapons systems without expending real ammunition.The day culminated with a land navigation course.
At 5:30 a.m. the next day, the Soldiers conducted an eight-mile road march carrying a 35 pound rucksack. Immediately after, the competitors moved out to a M16-A2 rifle qualification range. Soldiers fired their weapons upon pop up targets ranging from 50 to 300 meters away from their firing positions.
The next event was the night land navigation course, starting at 8 p.m..
The last day of the competition began at 5:30 a.m. with an Army Combatives competition. Army Combatives is a hybrid of various martial arts disciplines adapted into a set of practical hand to hand combat techniques. Soldiers competed with one another and scored points in accordance with how many times they achieved a dominant position.
The last event was a board appearance of the Soldiers before the Command Sergeant Major of the 21st Signal Brigade and senior leadership of the Brigade's subordinate units.
Competitors were judged on their military conduct in addition to answering questions on topics ranging from Army history to first aid and Army programs.
Lin and Berry will represent the Brigade in a regional competition at the 7th Signal Command in Fort Gordon, Ga. from April 25-28.