Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

Soldiers, NCOs compete for top honors

Spc. Luke Pata, health care specialist, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, carries a simulated casualty May 15, during the combat lanes testing portion of the Soldier of the Year competition. Pata outperformed five of his peers from across post to claim the Soldier of the Year title.

Story and photo by Staff Sgt. Henry W. Marris III

3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division

Soldiers and noncommissioned officers from units across Fort Carson battled it out May 13-16, for the right to be named the 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson Soldier and NCO of the Year.

Spc. Luke Pata, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div., rose above his peers to be named the Soldier of the Year, while Staff Sgt. Quillon Batterton, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 43rd Special Troops Battalion, 43rd Sustainment Brigade, 4th Inf. Div., was named NCO of the Year.

Pfc. Heather Scogin, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd ABCT, was the runner-up in the Soldier category, and Staff Sgt. Robert Mullins, Company C, 64th Brigade Support Bn., 3rd ABCT, was runner-up in the NCO category.

The myriad events were designed to challenge

the Soldiers and help prepare them for the next level of competition, said Master Sgt. Daryl Forsythe, Headquarters Support Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 4th Inf. Div., and noncom­missioned officer-in-charge of the competition.

“I looked at the Department of the Army Soldier and NCO of the Year competition from last year, and took all those events, and that’s what we used to come up with this schedule,” said Forsythe. “Once we select the best of the best, we want to make sure they are set up for success at the next level.”

Soldiers and NCOs participated in 11 events, trying to get the highest score they could in each event. The various events tested their mental and physical capacity, as well as their basic Soldier skills. The four-day competition began with a formal board appearance, and concluded with a combatives tournament.

Batterton, a vehicle mechanic, said a wide base of knowledge was good to have, coming into the competition.

“You have to focus on studying and doing hands-on refreshers with just about everything,” he said. “Repetition and training to standard are a must to prepare for this type of event.”

Pata, a health care specialist, said he enjoyed the competition, and believed the different events were a good tool to assess the skills of each competitor.

“The competition was mentally and physically demanding, and really tested your knowledge of warrior skills,” Pata said. “But if you really put your heart and mind into it, and have a competitive spirit, then you can win anything.”

Pata and Batterton now have the opportunity to represent 4th Inf. Div. at the I Corps Soldier and NCO of the Year competition in the near future.

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