By Marcy Sanchez, WBAMC Public Affairs:
(El Paso, Texas, Jan. 4, 2018)
Over a four-day period in early December, nine Soldiers with William Beaumont Army Medical Center set off on a journey to prove they were the best noncommissioned officer and Soldier in the organization.
Following the grueling competition that included a military board, obstacle course, marksmanship, land navigation, swim test, 12-mile ruck march and a combatives competition, two Soldiers received recognition as the NCO and Soldier of the Year for WBAMC.
“Being the NCO of the year definitely represents a lot,” said Sgt. Nate Carpenter, an orthopedic technician at WBAMC. “It’s the steward of our profession, the backbone of the Army.”
A week following the competition, Carpenter, along with Spc. Jesus Cosme, were recognized as the NCO and Soldier of the Year, respectively.
“(Being Soldier of the Year) means a lot because I can tell my people and all the Soldiers I did it,” said Cosme, a nutrition care specialist. “If you propose to do something and you put in your maximum effort, you can do whatever you want in your life.”
After joining the U.S. Army in 2016, one of the largest hurdles Cosme had to overcome was the language barrier. He is a native of Puerto Rico who grew up speaking Spanish.
“Since English is my second language; I forced myself to get better,” Cosme said. “Prepping for the board, I was scared about it because I thought board members wouldn’t understand my English. I thought, ‘I don’t care about my accent; I’m going to do my best and I’m going to represent myself.’”
For Carpenter, a native of Whiting, Iowa, receiving recognition as NCO of the Year brings another opportunity to do what NCOs do best: lead and mentor Soldiers.
“If I can do it, then I should pass the knowledge down to my other Soldiers so they can gain that knowledge and mold stronger Soldiers to do their best,” said Carpenter, an orthopedic technician. “You have to send the knowledge down the line so other Soldiers know how to do it in the future.”
While Carpenter and Cosme beat out their peers, the competition still presented challenges for the Soldiers.
“It’s what you made of it,” Carpenter said. “There’s a lot of challenges; all push you to make yourself better.”
According to Carpenter, who originally enlisted as a combat engineer in 2013, he found time to study and prepare for the competition with the assistance of his leadership and fellow Soldiers.
“If you want to do something high speed, get your name out there, this is the best way to do it,” Carpenter said. “Always continue trying to push yourself and be the change that you want to see.”
The competition was a compilation of WBAMC’s best NCOs and Soldiers, each vetted through a monthly and quarterly competition, earning them the right to compete to represent WBAMC at Regional Health Command-Central’s (WBAMC’s higher headquarters) NCO and Soldier of the year competition, slated to take place early next year. Soldiers participating in the competition exemplify WBAMC’s mission of readiness through patient-friendly access to high-quality health care.