506th Soldiers shine at boards

Story and photos by U.S. Army Sgt. Ryan Twist
139th Mobile Public Affairs
13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) Public Affairs

CONTINGENCY OPERATING LOCATION MAREZ, MOSUL, Iraq — Soldiers with the 506th Quartermaster Company out of Fort Lee, Va., performed exceptionally well at the Soldier of the month and promotion boards at Contingency Operating Location Marez, Mosul, Iraq.

First Sgt. Joseph T. Walden, a Hammond, Ind., native, with the 506th QM Co., said the Soldiers were chosen to participate in the boards based on their efforts throughout the quarter.

“My Soldiers have performed admirably,” said Walden. “(The Soldiers) performed their job at peak performance and above the standard.”

As leadership watches Soldiers train and study daily in preparation for their respective board, it becomes evident when they are ready, said Capt. Dwight O. Smith, commander of the 506th QM Co.

“Sgt. (Therica T.) Drummond was definitely chosen because of her efforts to assist other people for preparing for the board, promotion and Soldier of the month,” said Smith, a San Francisco native. “Spc. (Stephanie) Vargas, she has just done an outstanding job during this entire deployment.”

Vargas, an operations clerk with the 506th and a Manhattan, N.Y., native, said she prepared with an Army study guide and practiced regular board questions. Weapons were the most interesting event, she said.

Other Soldiers helped her prepare by asking her questions, giving her scenarios and testing her while she was at work, said Vargas.

“We had to come to study group every day,” she said. “We had to study all day, during the day.”

Vargas said she was grateful for her NCOs’ willingness to mentor and guide her in the correct direction. She was also thankful for their faith in her capacity to become a great leader, she said.

Smith said Vargas shows poise and execution far above her rank. He said she was selected for the Soldier of the month and he could tell from the start she would do very well.

Drummond, the night-shift operations noncommissioned officer with the 506th and an Orlando, Fla., native, said the boards were similar but, unlike the promotion board, the Soldier and NCO of the quarter boards included weapons testing.

“I didn’t have adequate time to prepare, but I just went to the promotion board so it was pretty easy,” said Drummond, who was promoted Oct. 1 and went to the board Oct. 8. “I felt great. I liked to win.”

The vital knowledge Soldiers will take with them is the ability to mentor other Soldiers, said Smith. As Drummond prepared others for boards, she absorbed the information, he said. She mentored other Soldiers to be successful NCOs while they watched Drummond, a successful NCO, he said.

“It’s a residual effect,” said Smith. “It just compounds the ability to make a better Soldier, make a better leader, make a better company.”

Drummond said it is important to stay connected to Soldiers in order to keep their respect. She said she helps them with the study group because she wants to see them succeed, to get to where she is.

“They have to be dedicated,” she said. “It’s hard to show up sometimes because you have other obligations. You have to put those on the side to further your career.”

Vargas said her dedication gained her experience that will help with future boards, including the NCO board. She said she and Drummond helped each other out a lot.

“I believe these Soldiers won because they were the best prepared,” said Walden. “They studied long, hard hours. They’re continuing to study for the brigade board and I have no doubt in my mind that they are going to win.”

Lt. Col. Kenneth A. Nova, commander of the 515th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, gave coins to Drummond and Vargas for winning NCO of the quarter and Soldier of the quarter, respectively, and for their overall effort toward mission success, said Smith.

“It was an honor to get coined by the battalion commander of the 515th CSSB,” said Vargas. “I felt great about myself because I never thought I could do that, but you can do anything once you set your mind to it.”


news photo
Spc. Stephanie Vargas, an operations clerk with the 506th Quartermaster Company out of Fort Lee, Va., and a Manhattan, N.Y., native, practices disassembling the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon in preparation for the brigade Soldier of the quarter board.
(U.S. Army photos by Sgt. Ryan Twist)