News: Arrowhead Soldiers win top honors at Soldier/NCO of the Year competition
Story by Staff Sgt. Justin A. Naylor
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Two Soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 7th Infantry Division, will attend the Forces Command Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., later this summer after winning the I Corps-level competition at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., June 5.
The Soldier, Pfc. Nicholas Jackson, a Young Harris, Ga., native and infantryman, and NCO, Staff Sgt. Peter Kacapyr, a Candor, N.Y., native and reconnaissance team leader, both with 2-3 Inf., spent a lot of time studying and training to win and hope to carry their victory on to the next competition.
Jackson, who has only been in the military for 16 months, said that the brigade SoTY competition, which lead up to a 7th Inf. Div. and I Corps competitions, was the first one like it that he had been part of.
“I had four-days warning,” Jackson joked. “I just started studying the board material and getting familiar with everything.”
Although he was ready, the competition was still a challenge.
“I was very nervous for the first board,” he said. “I was kind of sweaty and my voice cracked a little bit here and there, but I ended up doing a decent job.”
The brigade-level competition was a three-day event that consisted of a physical training test, a road march, obstacle course, land navigation, weapons firing and other basic Soldier skills, as well as an essay and board with senior NCOs from the brigade.
“My team leader did a really good job of training me and getting me ready for everything,” Jackson said.
Jackson and Kacapyr worked as a team during both the brigade and 7th Inf. Div. competitions.
“When we were in actual competitions, we did everything together,” Kacapyr said. “Before each event and during the practice, we would go over the event that was next and our game plan … bouncing ideas off each other.”
They also helped each other leading up to the various competitions.
“We would check up on each other and make sure we were studying the right topics,” Kacapyr said.
Their diligence and team work paid off time and again as they moved from one competition to the next, beating Soldiers from across the base.
Even with their repeated wins, the Soldiers have stayed humble and just try to do their best.
“You’re going to get out of it what you invest into it,” Kacapyr said. “If you’re motivated to compete and be a winner … then you’re going to go far.”
Their next competition at Fort Bragg will see them competing against Soldiers and NCOs from bases throughout the country.
“I don’t worry about the competition as much as I worry about just doing the best I can,” Kacapyr said.