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    STC develops mentorship skills at competition



    Story by Staff Sgt. Chad Menegay 

    196th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Soldiers of the Ohio Army National Guard’s Special Troops Command (STC) have taken the spirit of individual competition and turned it into a mentorship opportunity.
    As the STC conducted its annual Best Warrior Competition Oct. 12-14 at the Camp Sherman Joint Training Center in Chillicothe, Ohio, Soldiers came together to develop skills and gain knowledge they will pass on to members of their individual units.
    While the objective of the competition on paper may be to select the best, most competent Soldiers to represent the brigade in March at the Ohio National Guard’s statewide Best Warrior Competition (BWC), both competitors and cadre at the event understand that there is a more lasting purpose at work.
    “It’s always fun to compete and test your skills and knowledge,” said Sgt. Zachary Smith, a combat medic with the Ohio Army National Guard Medical Detachment out of Columbus, Ohio, “but I would say at the end of the day it’s more important to pass the knowledge down to the lower enlisted.”
    Smith won the noncommissioned officer category and was named the STC’s NCO of the year after a very strong Sergeants Major board appearance.
    Smith said that being forced to study for the board and master Army warrior skills adds to the tools noncommissioned officers have to impart knowledge on to lower enlisted.
    “As noncommissioned officers our primary objective is training; we’re passing on that progression of knowledge,” Smith said.
    “I think it not only develops the Soldier competing, but it also helps to develop mentors,” said Staff Sgt. Alex Johnson, a BWC cadre and Basic Leader Course instructor at the 147th Regional Training Institute in Columbus, Ohio, and a Heath, Ohio, native.
    Competitors said the BWC forces them to rehearse skills they don’t regularly practice, skills like Drill and Ceremony and land navigation. They can, in turn, lead instruction and mentor Soldiers on these same tasks at their unit level.
    “Even as a cadre member I learned some things,” Johnson said. “I took part in some meetings and did things I wouldn’t usually do, so I think it not only develops competitors, but there’s also multi-echelon units and training involved because there’s a lot of people who are going to be operating out of their normal realm.”
    Multi-echelon training brings a lot of units that wouldn’t normally interact with one another together. It gives everybody a different look at how other units operate and plan.
    One example of how units operate and plan differently is how they select Soldiers to compete in the BWC.
    Key leaders at the unit levels go through their rosters to select who they think would be the most successful candidates. Some potential competitors are asked to volunteer and some are ‘voluntold’ to compete.
    Some units hold their own competitions in the selection process. The Medical Detachment held its own mock board with three NCOs and three lower enlisted Soldiers, and leadership chose two candidates from those competitors, respectively.
    The trial runs at the unit level and mock boards help to identify Soldiers who can deal with stress in the moment.
    Smith said that butterflies come into play when one is put on-the-spot and people are watching at BWC.
    “The stress doesn’t mirror something like combat operations overseas because there is no element of danger to the competition,” Smith said, “but it parallels partially because you do get flustered in the moment and have to make split-time decisions, which, overseas and in theater you have to do, and you can get flustered as well.”
    Soldiers undergo about 20 hours of demanding events, including the following: a 6-mile road march, a physical fitness test, weapons qualification (M4 and M9), Engagement Skills Trainer, written essay, Drill and Ceremony, Army warrior task-shoot, Army warrior task survive, and the appearance board.
    “This is about pushing yourself physically and mentally,” said Sgt. Joshua Berg, a range operations noncommissioned officer for the Camp Ravenna Joint Maneuver Training Center in Ravenna, Ohio, and a Boardman, Ohio, native. “There’s a lot of knowledge-based criteria, then, to throw on top of that lack of sleep and physical exertion, it puts even more stress on you mentally.”
    All STC soldiers withstood the stress and made it through the competition.
    Winners were the aforementioned Smith as NCO of the year and Soldier of the Year Pfc. Emily Funderburg, a dental specialist also with the Ohio National Guard’s Medical Detachment.
    This is a selection process that falls under an Army-wide Best Warrior Competition, so the winners move on to the Ohio National Guard state competition in March of 2019. From there winners compete in a regional competition. National Guard command enters its winners in the U.S. Army BWC.



    Date Taken: 10.17.2018
    Date Posted: 10.18.2018 09:23
    Story ID: 296815
    Location: COLUMBUS, OH, US 

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