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NEWS | April 13, 2018

Eustis awards NCO, Soldier of the Year

By Staff Sgt. Teresa J. Cleveland 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

After three days of challenging competition, two U.S. Army Soldiers were nominated as Fort Eustis’ NCO and Solider of the Year during a ceremony at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, April 11, 2018.

“These Soldiers that have been competing for the last three days are the best example of what we have in the United States Army,” said U.S. Army Col. Richard D. Heyward, Center for Initial Military Training deputy commander. “Let’s think about what they have accomplished. The bulk of our Army is made up just like these Soldiers, and they are fighting to be the best of the best--it’s impressive.”

Senior leaders from JBLE announced the installation winners as Sgt. Tiphine Tobo, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 10th Battalion, 7th Transportations Brigade (Expeditionary) battalion school NCO in charge, and Spc. Nicholas Sobel, 567th Inland Cargo Transportation Company, 53rd Battalion, 7th Trans. Bde. (Exp.) cargo specialist.

“My heart started to race as they were about to announce the winner,” said Sobel. “I’m excited that I won, but I know the other Soldiers fought really hard too. It was bittersweet because they were good competition, and they pushed me throughout the whole thing.”

The competition included a written test, land navigation courses during day and night hours, radio communications testing, combat medical skills, M-16 rifle qualification firing, a mystery physical event and the proposed Army Combat Readiness Test.

Tobo said he was shocked when they called his name because the competition was so close.

“Overall, the competition was very challenging and the other NCO was very tough,” said Tobo. “It felt like we were neck and neck the whole time.”

Although the competition may have been challenging, U.S. Army Command Sgt. Maj. Edward W. Mitchell, Center for Initial Military Training command sergeant major, said the competitors displayed exceptional professionalism and teamwork during the entire event.

“When I see these young Soldiers coming out here and representing their organization, it reminds me of why I serve,” said Mitchell. “I think of it like a football game. We want our Soldiers on the field, not on the sidelines. By choosing to compete for NCO of the Year and Soldier of the Year, it says a lot about them and the leadership they have pushing them to their full potential.”

Tobo and Sobel will advance to the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command NCO/SOY Competition July 16-20 in Fort Gordon, Ga.