N.C. and W. Va. National Guard Soldiers claim MNBG-E’s top honors for September

Multinational Battle Group - East (KFOR)
Story by Sgt. David Marquis

Date: 09.05.2015
Posted: 09.13.2015 03:17
News ID: 175872
N.C. and W. Va. National Guard Soldiers claim MNBG-E’s top honors for September

CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo – U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to Multinational Battle Group-East recently competed to claim the title of Soldier and noncommissioned officer of the month, Sept. 4-5, 2015 on Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo.

Each of the nine competitors—six junior enlisted and three NCOs—were tested physically and mentally through a 2.5-mile ruck march and land navigation test, among other tests and examinations. The competition culminated with an examination in front of a board of senior NCOs serving in Kosovo.

Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Johnson, the senior noncommissioned officer for MNBG-E and the 30th Armored Brigade Combat Team, sat as the chairman of the board and oversaw the competition.

The 30th ABCT, a North Carolina National Guard unit out of Clinton, North Carolina, is currently serving as the MNBG-E headquarters, part of NATO’s peace support mission in the region known as Kosovo Force.

“I prepared for NCO of the Month by taking it one task at a time,” said Sgt. Jason Givens, the 30th ABCT Headquarters and Headquarters Company armory NCO, and winner of the NCO of the Month title. “I had to mentally prepare myself to perform my daily duties while finding time to study with little sleep. I also had to mentally prepare myself to be pushed beyond my comfort zone.”

Johnson says that he would like to see all Soldiers test themselves and try out for the competition.

“This was the second competition since the new rotation of U.S. Soldiers in Kosovo,” Johnson said. “I will be holding one every month, and I encouraged every unit here to send Soldiers to compete.”

“Make the decision that you are going to step beyond your limits and be uncomfortable,” Givens said. “Be dedicated, take the challenge to stand out among your peers and represent yourself as a Soldier or NCO to the best of your ability. There are no losers when you’re educating yourself, growing mentally and having fun.”