13th SC(E) Honors Soldier, NCO of the Year
Story and Photos by Sgt. Joel F. Gibson
13th SC(E) Public Affairs Office
FORT HOOD, Texas — Soldiers of the 13th SC(E) honored the Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the year in a ceremony at Howze Theater here March 11.
More than 500 Soldiers from the 1st Medical Brigade, 4th Sustainment Brigade, and 15th Sustainment Brigade attended the ceremony honoring Sgt. Mason Powers, Retention NCO, 36th Medical Evacuation Battalion, 1st Medical Brigade as the 13th SC(E) NCO of the year, and Spc. Jessica C. Ruffin, an Automated Logistics Specialist with 418th Medical Logistics Company, 36th Medevac Battalion.
Also honored were the 13th SC(E) Soldiers and NCOs of the third and fourth quarter, 2007, and first quarter, 2008. The food service Soldier and NCO of the first quarter and supporters of the competition were also recognized in the ceremony.
“This ceremony is not just for the NCOs and soldiers who won, but for every Soldier in the 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary). The example these fine soldiers have set, should inspire every junior enlisted Soldier and NCO here today,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Fountain, the 13th SC(E) command sergeant major.
Ruffin advanced in the standard style of competitive boards first winning at company level, then battalion, then brigade, and finally 13th SC(E) Soldier of the Quarter to secure a chance to compete for Soldier of the Year.
Powers’ path was a little different.
“When I was in Iraq, one of my buddies was studying for the promotion board,” Powers said, “We were as thick as thieves, so I studied with him and my first sergeant.”
He continued, “Then I won my company’s Soldier of the year board, but lost the battalion level, that really got me started on going to competitive boards.”
“I won brigade level Soldier of the Quarter, but since I made rank, and someone was unable to compete, I went in as an alternate for SC(E) level NCO of the year,” Powers said.
During the brigade level board, Powers was enrolled in college at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor under the reenlistment college-option.
“During the SC(E) level of the competition, I was actually in finals week,” said Powers, “I had to take two finals in the time allocated for one test because the oral board conflicted with one of my finals.”
Ruffin credits her success to her own sacrifice, her chain of command’s support, and her first line supervisor Staff Sgt. Luis Arial, a medical logistics NCO with 36th who helped her study and gave her the guidance to do it on her own.
“I sacrificed family time, weekends, and sometimes even sleep,” said Ruffin, “Sometimes when I doubted myself, [Arial] gave me that extra push I needed.”
Both Soldier and NCO of the Year agreed going to boards sets Soldiers apart from their peers.
“I like that the Army is Family-oriented,” said Ruffin, “I like the structure of the military, and of course I like the benefits.”
“It’s a platform for the rest of your life.”
The competitive board sweep is a final feather in the cap for the 36th, which is scheduled to inactivate, June, 2008.
Sgt. Albert E. Lamont, a driver with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), briefs the candidates in the 13th SC(E) Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year competition during the Warrior Task section of the competition here Dec. 4. Sgt. Emily Warren, an Emergency Care NCO with the 21st Combat Support Hospital, 1st Medical Brigade, Pfc. Stephanie Bloomer, an Emergency Care Specialist with the 21st CSH, Sgt. Mason Powers, orderly room Noncommissioned Officer in Charge with HHD, 36th Medical Evacuation Battalion, 1st Med. Bde., and Sgt. Kevin Koonce, another Emergency Care NCO with the 21st CSH, took part in the week-long competition that measured physical fitness, practical application of knowledge, personal appearance, composure, and overall knowledge. Spc. Jessica Ruffin(not pictured), an automated logistical specialist with the 418th Medical Logistics Company, 36th MEB, traveled from Fort Sam Houston to compete against Bloomer in the board part of the competition, but due to an injury was unable to test in all aspects.
Sgt. Mason Powers, the 13th SC(E) NCO of the year, guides a humvee to tow a simulated disabled vehicle during the Warrior Tasks and Drills testing section of the 13th SC(E) NCO of the year competition.