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Soldier And NCO Of The Year Announced
By Sgt. Shawn Morris, 444MPAD

Spc. Hector Rivera

Some Soldiers take Army recruiting slogans to heart, whether it’s “Be All That You Can Be,” “Army of One,” “Army Strong” or the National Guard’s “You Can”.

New Jersey Army National Guard recruiters Spc. Hector Rivera (right) and Staff Sgt. Robert Freeman (below) are two such Soldiers.

Embodying all the above mantras, Rivera was named the New Jersey Army National Guard Soldier of the Year for 2006, while Freeman took the NCO of the Year title.

The competition was held at the Joint Training and Training Development Center (JT2DC) on Fort Dix. Five Soldiers competed in six Common Training Tasks — Maintain an M-16 series Rifle, React to a Possible Improvised Explosive Device, Move Under Direct Fire, Perform First Aid on a Bleeding Extremity, Communicate via Tactical Radio in a Secure Net, and Navigate on the Ground — and appeared before a board.

Staff Sgt. Robert Freeman

While all the Soldiers performed well, Rivera and Freeman had what it took to edge out the competition.

”I think it came down to the board,” said Freeman. “The board is your chance to sell yourself. It’s really going to make or break you.”

”The best event was probably land nav,” said Rivera.

Both Rivera and Freeman expressed their feelings about being named Soldier and NCO of the Year.


"It makes me feel really proud. It’s pretty humbling,” said Freeman. “It just feels good to be recognized.”

”I don’t feel like NCO of the Year,” he added. “I just feel like an NCO doing my job.”

”It means a whole lot to me,” said Rivera. ”It was a very good experience,” he added.


Table of Contents

Volume 32 Number 5
Staff / Information
(c) 2006 NJ Department of Military and Veterans Affairs