FORT GORDON, Ga. - The 35th Signal Brigade held an annual Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year Competition from 3-6 September on Fort Gordon., Ga.<br /> <br /> Colonel Robert L. Edmonson II, the 35th Signal Brigade commander, and Command Sergeant Major Perry D. Summerville, the brigade command sergeant major, presented the Army Commendation Medal and a trophy to each of the winners during a ceremony Sept. 6 at Fort Gordon's Signal Theater.<br /> <br /> Soldiers from the 50th Expeditionary Signal Battalion based in Fort Bragg, N.C., Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Signal Brigade, and the 63rd ESB from Fort Gordon participated in the event.<br /> <br /> Lion Brigade soldiers were tested in Army Warrior Tasks and Drills, completed a land navigation course, fired a M9 pistol and M16 rifle, completed the Army Physical Fitness Test, and wrote an essay. The final event was the NCO/Soldier of the Year Board, where participants answered Army doctrine questions to a panel of First Sergeant and Command Sergeants Major.<br /> <br /> Sgt. Christopher J. Preachers, a multichannel transmission systems operator assigned to Alpha Company, 50th ESB, won the Brigade NCO of the Year Competition.<br /> <br /> “The competition was outstanding because it tested the total Soldier concept,” said Preachers, a native of Edgefield, S.C., and graduate of Strum Thurmond High School in Johnston, S.C. “The participants have already proven themselves through Brigade NCO and Soldier of the Quarter Boards, and the competition was especially challenging because we had to study the new evolving doctrine of the Army.” <br /> <br /> The most challenging event for Preachers was land navigation.<br /> “The terrain and heat was a challenge in the event,” said Preachers. “You have to be mentally and physically tough to keep your legs moving and mind focus on accomplishing the task.”<br /> <br /> Spc. James M. Sutton, a power-generation equipment repairer assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 35th Signal Brigade, Fort Gordon, is the Brigade Soldier of the Year. Sutton, of Raleigh, N.C., sees winning the board as a spring board for his future. <br /> <br /> “Competing at this level and beyond is a building block as far as experience is concerned,” said Sutton. “I hope this serves as an inspiration for my peers to help them advance.”<br /> <br /> Preachers and Sutton will compete in the upcoming XVIII Airborne Corps Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year Board at Fort Bragg.