FORT EUSTIS, Va. — Two Soldiers claimed the top honors during the 2015 U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year Competition, held here, Aug. 3 – 7.
Staff Sgt. Christopher Thompson, Noncommissioned Officer Academy, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, representing the Maneuver Center of Excellence, Fort Benning, Georgia, won the title as TRADOC’s NCO of the Year, while Sgt. Raymond Nichols, Aviation Center of Excellence, Fort Rucker, Alabama, was named TRADOC’s Soldier of the Year during the competition’s recognition luncheon Aug. 7.
“I was shocked at the announcement that I would have the honor to go on to represent TRADOC at the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition,” said Thompson. “Winning the competition at this level is a great achievement for me, although the most important thing was the opportunity to meet, train and learn from some of the most stellar Soldiers from TRADOC,” he said.
Nichols said being named the TRADOC Soldier of the Year was indescribable.
“I cannot begin to describe how amazing it is to receive this honor. All the training and support from my unit and family has paid off. This road started at the company level for me, and being here, and now going on to represent TRADOC at Army’s Best Warrior competition, is amazing. I feel like I’ve reached the top of a mountain,” Nichols said.
The five-day competition included the Army Physical Fitness Test, knowledge of Soldier/Warrior Tasks and battle drills during urban orienteering, weapons qualifications and a formal board comprised of command sergeants major representing various units within TRADOC.
“The competition was a first-class event designed to test Soldiers’ ability to excel against some of the best TRADOC has to offer,” said TRADOC Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport. “The events were geared to be tough and realistic, so each of the competitors can take back a standard of what training should look like at their units.”
Twenty-one active-duty Soldiers from organizations across TRADOC competed for the titles. The Soldiers represented each organization as the “very best” by winning lower-level competitions held at their represented organizations.
TRADOC’s NCO of the Year had a few words of advice for Soldiers who may be interested in the competition.
“I would tell all Soldiers to always strive to be the standard-bearer in your organization, learn from your fellow Soldiers and take those lessons to develop yourself into a leader that others would follow,” Thompson said. “I had an opportunity to compete, not against, but amongst some of the top professional Soldiers our Army has to offer.”
Gen. David G. Perkins, TRADOC commanding general congratulated Thompson and Nichols as well as all the competitors in the event.
“TRADOC serves as the front door of the Army,” said Gen. David G. Perkins, TRADOC commanding general. “All of you, each and every day show our Army and the nation what right looks like. Having each of you here to compete at the TRADOC-level competition is a true acknowledgement you are the very best the command has to offer.”
Thompson and Nichols will go on to represent TRADOC during the Department of the Army’s Best Warrior competition at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia, Oct. 4-12.
For photos of the TRADOC competition, click here.