The Army National Guardsmen annually holds a Non-Commissioned Officer competition that is comprised of multiple levels of various grueling tasks, both physical and mental. This year, Oglethorpe junior and Stone Mountain, Ga. native Staff Sgt. Eric N. Hunt ’16, an infantryman with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, won the competition and was named Georgia National Guard Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. Eric, an international studies major, has spent approximately five years in the Army and three years in the National Guard.
In order to compete for the NCO recipient for the state level, Eric endured several levels of competition. The first level is the Battalion, which is held for one day in January. Competitors who are successful in the first level move on to the Brigade level, which occurs for three days in February. Finally, the state NCO candidates are put through a four-day competition in March.
Competitors are put through multiple types of physical and mental tests. First, is the fitness test, which includes push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run. An exam with general military topics and a graded essay is then administered. Weapons qualification follows, along with an obstacle course, and an interview with the merit board. The final task includes demonstrating general army skills, with no rest in-between.
Eric says he preferred the shooting, weapons maintenance, and land navigation aspects of the competition. However, thanks to his Oglethorpe education, he felt he was best prepared for the essay and interview.
Eric advises other students to make time to work toward your goals. “There is a lot that can get done if you make time for things,” he says. “If there is something you want, go for it.”