Soldiers provided opportunity to excel, exhibit expertise

By Sgt. Joshua Ford U.S. Army North Public Affairs

FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas – Junior enlisted Soldiers and noncommissioned officers often begin their preparation for leadership roles through hours of intensive study, followed by appearing before a promotion board.

In the past, for U.S. Army North troops, this meant preparing for facing this vital challenge at the Fort Sam Houston Garrison promotion board. Such is no longer the case however since ARNORTH conducted its inaugural promotion board Feb. 25.

“We always relied on garrison to conduct our boards due to the small amount of specialists and sergeants in the command,” said Master Sgt. Nick Medeiros, noncommissioned officer in charge of strength management, ARNORTH. “Once we started to incorporate sergeants into ARNORTH’s defense coordinating elements, we identified that we needed to start conducting internal boards and not rely on garrison.”

ARNORTH has also seen an influx in compassionate reassignments, which has brought more specialists and sergeants eligible for promotion to the command.

“We felt we would be doing our specialists and sergeants a disservice if we could not get them to an ARNORTH promotion board,” added Medeiros.

Although the promotion board tests Soldiers on their basic Army knowledge, some Soldiers are more comfortable when senior leaders from their command are sitting on the board.

“I would feel a lot more comfortable if leaders I know are sitting on the board rather than leaders I don’t know,” said Sgt. Amos Stimage, administrative clerk, ARNORTH executive services.

Stimage, who is scheduled to appear before the promotion board in April, has served with ARNORTH for more than two years. He said he is glad to see ARNORTH conducting its own promotion board.

“I like the fact that I will be able to go to a promotion board held by my own unit because it kind of takes off some of the pressure of the board,” said Stimage.

He said he also felt it was better to appear before leaders who already have had the opportunity to see those appearing before the board in person.

“I would feel even more pressured to go to another unit's board because I would feel as if I was being judged on how well my record looks and by answers that I memorized and not more of my ability as a leader on a day-to-day basis,” said Stimage.

Appearing before a promotion board is an important aspect of Soldiers’ careers because it indicates, for the Soldiers, that their supervisors believe they are ready for the next level of leadership.

“It keeps Soldiers proficient in basic Army Soldiering and forces the junior enlisted to stay in tune with the changes made to military regulations and tactics and procedures,” said Medeiros.

By holding its promotion board, the command is not only helping junior Soldiers and NCOs compete for promotions, it also provides an opportunity for senior leaders to stay proficient in conducting board proceedings.

“I enjoy the opportunity to assist any Soldier in excelling in their military career,” said Master Sgt. Angela Bray, chaplains assistant, ARNORTH, who served as a board member for the Feb. 25 promotion board. “It reminded me of the basics of taking care of Soldiers.”

It also provides the leaders an opportunity to continue to mentor Soldiers.

“I think it will be good for Soldiers because some pressure will be lifted off of you; and after the board, some of the members can give you tips and pointers for the next time you appear before a board,” said Stimage. “I look forward to it.”