By CAPT. MATTHEW MCDANIEL
19th Engineer Battalion
The bright orange sun rises over the desert landscape in Kuwait, bringing with it another day at Camp Arifjan. Two Soldiers are already up and moving, Sgt. Scott Dumas and Spc. Alexis McClure. Their day started at 4:30 a.m. with a physical fitness test, part of a larger contest to determine the best Soldier and noncommissioned officer in Kuwait.
Dumas and McClure were nominated by the 19th Engineer Battalion to compete in the Area Support Group Kuwait Soldier and NCO of the year board on March 19. A total of four NCOs and three Soldiers from different units on Camp Arifjan vied for the honor of being the best. The competition started with a PT test at 4:30 am. From there, the competitors performed an urban orienteering course with six different stations that tested their mental and physical limits. The stations included tests of proficiency with the M240B machine gun, the M9 pistol, performing first aid, individual movement techniques, map reading, and operating in chemically-contaminated areas. After the course, Soldiers were quizzed by a panel of senior NCOs on Army regulations and field manuals. At the end of the day, Dumas and McClure were selected as the NCO and Soldier of the year.
Dumas spent a month studying for the board while also attending to his normal duties as a team leader in charge of five Soldiers. The married father of three studied late into the night to review material for the board while also working on a degree in general studies. McClure also studied for at least an hour ever day in addition to her regular duties as a human resources specialist in the battalion S-1 section. She wanted to prove that Soldiers with administrative jobs can still perform with the best. “Losing was not an option,” she said when asked what her motivation was during the board. Both Soldiers are assigned to the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 19th Engineer Battalion. They will represent the battalion in the ARCENT Soldier and NCO of the year board in May 2014.