FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Every year, the Secretary of the Army recognizes the service’s most outstanding career counselors for achievements in support of retention efforts and outstanding personal qualities.
After being named Army Pacific Command Career Counselor of the Year in December, Sgt. 1st Class Bradley Hallum, career counselor for the Brigade Troops Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, went on to win the Secretary of the Army’s Career Counselor of the Year Award in a final competition against nine other career counselors, one from each Army command. Competitors for the award are expected to be proficient in general Army knowledge as well as have an exhaustive knowledge of AR 601-280, the Army’s 146-page retention program regulation.
“It’s a lot of work, a lot of extra time put in after regular work hours to prepare for competitions like this”, Hallum said.
To reach the competition Hallum won the Army Pacific Command Career Counselor of the Year in December. The competition consists of a physical fitness test, warrior task evaluation, a written test, and appearance before a board of sergeants major.
Hallum said the extra time and effort was worth it.
“Winning this was a direct reflection of the support, mentorship and leadership of all those who have made me into the NCO that I am today,” Hallum said. “It’s an accomplishment of all those fine NCOs and leaders that I’ve had in past years. It shows the caliber of NCO that they’ve created.”
“It also sets an example for the young soldiers within the ranks. To see a Sgt. 1st Class competing in boards and competitions, you lead from the front, encouraging young soldiers and NCOs to set themselves apart from their peers."
As the Army begins its drawdown, focusing on quality over quantity, the role of the career counselor will become essential to maintaining the Army’s strength, according to Hallum.
“The drawdown is going to add a lot our job,” he said. We’re going to have to educate leaders on ways to retain quality soldiers, and educate soldiers on what they need to do to stay in. And we’re going to be more involved in the ACAP process as well. Helping soldiers make a smooth transition into the civilian world.
When he’s not advising soldiers of their career options and helping them achieve their goals, Hallum enjoys the recreational possibilities Alaska offers.
“In the winter I ice fish and ride my snow machine through the backwoods. In the summer I do a lot of camping and fishing with my family. I’ve been here six years, so it’s time to go. But I love Alaska.”