FORT SILL, Okla_Every year, Fort Sill holds competitions to see who the best of the best are. On Wednesday, four of those soldiers were recognized in a special award luncheon. The Noncommissioned Officer, Soldier, Drill Sergeant, and Platoon Sergeant of the year were all recognized.
After months and months of PT tests, skill challenges, ruck marches, and boards it was time to sit back and reflect on a job well done.
I will never accept defeat, I will never quit. Two sentences from the Soldier's Creed that described these soldiers who won these awards. It takes sacrifice to be a soldier, and even more sacrifice to go above and beyond to show your worth to your peers.
For Sergeant First Class Michael Shannon, it is to set the example for his soldiers, "Because as a noncommissioned officer, we are always told to lead by example and to set the standard. There is no better way than getting out there and showing. Everyone wants to be the best, and that is why we have these competitions."
To be the best of the best takes a lot of time, dedication and hard work. The competitors do not get extra time off to compete. All the studying and training is done in their off time. Soldier of the Year Jaypee Pardo understands that, "It is a lot of hard work and dedication, sacrifice a lot of time, and just preparing for the boards is just excruciating, you have to set yourself apart from your peers and just have a lot of time to study."
Even if you don't win, the competition can teach you many things. Repeatedly, soldiers spoke that it's not about the individual but about the United States Army.
"I learned that at the end of the day we are one team and even though it's a competition. The people I competed against were great, great people and they are my friends now. The end of the day you have to remember we are the United States Army and it's not about one person, and it's not about an individual, it is about the overall team," said Shannon.
Some of these soldiers are set to move from Fort Sill this year. They still plan on participating in even harder competitions where they will face very tough challenges. They said they are very much looking forward to competing again.