2nd Chem Boasts Chemical NCO of the Year

Story by Pfc. Crystal D. Eldridge
13th SC(E) Public Affairs

A Non-Commissioned Officer of the 2nd Chemical Battalion, 64th Corps Support Group, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), earned the Army Chemical Corps' highest NCO honors and another 2nd Chem Soldier came in second place at the Corps' Dragons Peak "Best Chemical Soldier" competition at Fort Leonard Wood in June.

Staff Sgt. Francisco Cardenas, of the 44th Chemical Company, is the Army's Chemical NCO of the Year and Pfc. Danny Volkert, of the 31st Chemical Company, came in second place for the Army's Chemical Soldier of the Year competition.

"I never imagined I was going to be able to win," Cardenas said. "It makes me feel very proud about myself."

Cardenas went on to attribute his success as a chemical NCO to the training he receives with the 2nd Chem and to the long hours he has put in studying and reading military literature.

"I put 100 percent in what I do," Cardenas said. "Sacrifices pay off."

Cardenas and Volkert were recommended for this honor by their chain of command, with the command sergeant major of the 2nd Chemical Battalion, Command Sgt. Maj. Sheridon Richardson's, endorsement, Volkert said.

The two participated in an Army Physical Fitness Test, conducted hands-on training including giving a salute report, maintaining protective masks, first aid for wounded extremities, an M249 functions check, land navigation, weapons qualification and a written exam on nuclear, biological and chemical subjects.

"It was really good training," Volkert said. "It was a great opportunity. I'm glad I got to do it."

Despite the fact Volkert came in second, he plans to try again next year - only next time as an NCO and with Cardenas' help and training, he said.

"I'm going to help Volkert train and any other Soldier that wants to go (to the competition)," Cardenas added.

"My advice (to these Soldiers) is trust your leadership. Train as you fight. Train to standard. Listen during sergeant's time. If you have a question, ask," Cardenas continued.

For his achievements, Cardenas was awarded the Command Sgt. Maj. George L. Murray Leadership Award.