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NEWS | Jan. 15, 2013

'Resolute' NCO's focus, family help him earn 7th Sus. Bde. NCO of the Year honors

By Sgt. Edwin Rodriguez 7th Sustainment Brigade Public Affairs

Mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, followers and leaders - these are some of the important roles Soldiers in the U.S. Army fulfill. However, of these Soldiers, only one can claim the honor of being the 7th Sustainment Brigade's Noncommissioned Officer the Year.

That Soldier is Sgt. Eddie Partee, an information technology manager assigned to the brigade's Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 10th Transportation Battalion.

Since joining the Army in 2007, Partee prepared to compete for awards, such as Soldier of the Month honors, even as a private.

"It didn't matter who I was going against, I felt I was going to win. I competed against a specialist who had so many ribbons on his chest, and I had only three; but after the results came out, I found out he won by only one question," said Partee. "From then on I was motivated and confident that I could compete. Luckily, others noticed and kept recommending me to go to more boards."

Partee was no different than his peers when it came to study methods. But as he progressed in rank and responsibility, he used resources more readily available to him. He sponsored his section Soldiers while they participated in Soldier of the Month boards, which in turn helped him prepare for his upcoming competitions. At home, he received the support of his wife, Staff Sgt. Cassandra Partee, and their twins, Malia and Jayden.

"I have learned when you stop at the bare minimum you learn very little. I now take my Soldiers to the board which constantly keeps my mind fresh," said Partee. "At home, my wife quizzes me and tries to incorporate it into our daily routines."

Noncommissioned officer of the year is a huge accomplishment which demands a lot of dedication and perseverance from junior leaders. Partee has no reservations with this, and for him, going to the board was never a question.

"The Army is competitive. If you are not out there looking to be the best, then you won't move up in position," said Partee. "One way I knew that I could stand out in the company, battalion and amongst my peers was to go to the board."

Partee will move on to represent the "Resolute" brigade at the XVIII Airborne Corps NCO of the Year competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., in the spring.

"It felt great to win but it doesn't stop there. I expect it to be more challenging, but I am ready. The hard part now is preparing for what are they going to ask me," said Partee.

While earning these accolades is a great accomplishment, Partee said his ultimate goal is to become a drill sergeant. As a private in Basic Combat Training, he did not know what his future held until he met a staff sergeant there.

"When I met my drill sergeant on that first day, I knew immediately I wanted to be in his position," added Partee.

Partee said he feels there is nothing stopping him from reaching his military goals because he knows what he wants from life and how much his family counts on him.

"You can't wait for others to make choices for you, especially when you want more responsibility and respect in the Army," he said.

"You will never know what you can do until you actually go to board. The benefits and accomplishments are there waiting for you," Partee added. "Others will start to recognize you as someone who sets the example. Who knows? You could be the next command sergeant major, or could be standing right beside one."