News: Teamwork takes 2 NC Guardsmen to the next level
Story by Staff Sgt. Mary Junell
STARKE, Fla. - Sgt. Jamie Cummings and Spc. Lewis Rolband are two very different Soldiers. On one hand you have Rolband, a young baby-faced specialist, pursuing a degree in chemistry. He barely weighs 150 pounds, is reserved and under pressure he is calm and collected.
Then there is Cummings, a stocky, seasoned non-commissioned officer with active duty and time overseas under his belt. He is a police officer for the town of Spring Hope, N.C., has a voice that fills a room, is quick with a joke and is 12 years older than Rolband.
Yet despite their differences, Cummings and Rolband are an inseparable team, and their bond has motivated them at the Region III Best Warrior Competition at Camp Blanding, Fla., April 14-18.
Cummings and Rolband began competing in October 2013 when they participated in the battalion level of the competition for the 1st Battalion, 113th Field Artillery.
“We were hand selected by our unit to compete at the battalion level,” Cummings said. “I’m proud of the Fist team (forward observer team) and the fact that we have represented the 113th Field Artillery Battalion by making it this far in the competition.”
The Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1-113th Field Artillery Soldiers have both won their respective categories at each level of the competition so far; battalion, brigade and state.
Watching the pair, they operate like a well-oiled machine, supporting each other throughout the competition, both knowing they would not have made it this far if not for the mutual support.
“It was a really good feeling knowing that we would get to compete at the regional level as a team,” Rolband said. “We are able to push ourselves to a level we couldn’t without each other.”
The Best Warrior Competition is not a team event. At each level there are two categories that compete amongst themselves, the noncommissioned officers and the enlisted Soldiers.
However, that has not stopped Cummings and Rolband from acting as a team and they credit each other with their success so far.
“We are both already motivated individuals,” Cummings said. “But when I lack the motivation to move forward, Rolband provides that motivation and I do the same for him. The fact that both of us made it this far from the same section is remarkable, but I would never expect anything less from Rolband.”
The duo has been a team for over a year and a half at their unit in Charlotte, N.C. where they are a two-man forward observer team.
Their effectiveness as a team has not only secured their place at the regional competition, it has been noticed as a positive influence among the other Soldiers in their unit.
“These two soldiers possess a great amount of motivation that is contagious and they both feed off of it,” said Staff Sgt. Nathan LeCompte, The section sergeant for Cummings and Rolband. “They drive me to being a better NCO because they are already so self motivated and knowledgeable.”
LeCompte was also impressed by how Cummings and Rolband have helped each other throughout the competition.
“Although helping each other won’t help themselves, they never lost sight of taking care of their fellow soldier,” LeCompte said. “Although they both individually wanted to win, they also wanted each other to win as well. In their minds, its one thing to win individually, but to win as a team that swept both categories; it takes things to the next level.”
To Rolband and Cummings their friendship goes beyond that of a working team, both reference their teammate as family.
“We are like brothers,” Cummings said. “You come across people in your life that you instantly connect with and Rolband is one of those people to me.”
And their connection is obvious. From the inside jokes and pranks they pull on each other to the way they can tell what the other is thinking with just a look.
“It’s like getting to come out here and have fun with my big brother,” Rolband said. “We help each other out. We get to compete against each other as well as the competitors in our category.”
It is this teamwork and brotherhood that has helped many Soldiers survive the difficulties of military service, and both Soldiers getting this far in the competition is a great example of the importance of that teamwork.
Win or lose, Cummings and Rolband have already achieved a great success. Both representing the North Carolina National Guard at the Region III Best Warrior Competition and in the example they set for other Soldiers.