Army names its top soldier, NCO of the year
Staff Sgt. Andrew J. Bullock and Spc. Wilfredo A. Mendez were named the Army’s noncommissioned officer and soldier of the year, respectively, during a ceremony last week at Fort Myer, Va.
Bullock, a San Diego native and Ranger instructor with the 5th Ranger Training Battalion, Fort Benning, Ga., represented Training and Doctrine Command in the competition.
Mendez, from Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, is a signals intelligence analyst with Company A, 3rd Military Intelligence Battalion, Camp Humphreys, South Korea, part of the 8th U.S. Army.
The two were selected after a weeklong competition with candidates from 10 major Army commands. The competition put the soldiers through the Army Physical Fitness Test, a six-mile road march, day and night land navigation courses, weapons qualification, other tests and a written exam and essay.
They also appeared before a board of senior soldiers who appraised not only the competing soldiers’ answers to questions but also their military bearing, speaking ability, military knowledge and military record.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston presided over the board. In announcing the winners, he urged all the competitors to “take what you’ve learned in the past week … and apply it to your daily life,” according to an Army news release.
The winners will now travel with Preston to Army bases around the world. “I’m looking forward to going with [Preston] overseas and visiting troops,” Bullock said in the release. “They deserve more accolades, by far more, than I did here. They’re putting their lives on the line.”