March 31, 2010

Virginia Army National Guard names top Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier

By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

BLACKSTONE, Va. — Sgt. Lionel Blair was selected the Virginia National Guard Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Spc. George Arvan was selected as the Virginia National Guard Soldier of the Year after a two-day competition held March 27-28 at Fort Pickett. Blair, a resident of Chesapeake, is a human resource sergeant assigned to 1st Battalion, 111th Field Artillery Regiment, 116th Brigade Combat Team, and Arvan, a Spotsylvania resident, is a fire support specialist assigned to Headquarters Company, 29th Infantry Division.


Soldiers and noncommissioned officers were evaluated in Army Warrior Task skills under the watchful eye of the senior command sergeants major in the Virginia Army National Guard during Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Competition held March 27 - 28, 2010 at Fort Pickett. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Lauren Martin, Joint Force Headquarters - Virginia)

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“Each of the competitors in both categories were evenly matched going into the Sunday morning appearance board,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, the Virginia Army National Guard state sergeant major. “Sgt. Blair distinguished himself from the rest of his peers during the appearance boards by demonstrating knowledge on a variety of military subjects some of which were well above his skill level, and Spc. Arvin showed consistency throughout the weekend scoring ahead of his competition in each event and maintaining a 90% average overall.”

The competitors competed in the Army Physical Fitness Test, M16 weapons qualification and Army Warrior Tasks on March 27, then were evaluated on a personal appearance board in front of command sergeants major from across the state.

The two winners received recognition by Brig. Gen. Stephen Huxtable, assistant adjutant general of Virginia – Army, and they were also recognized by GEICO and USAA, two of the sponsors of the event.

Blair and Arvan will represent Virginia at the regional Soldier and NCO of they Year competitions scheduled for May 13-16 at Camp Dawson, W.Va. They will compete against Soldiers from West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware. The winners of the regional competition will compete in the Sergeant Major of the Army-level competition later this year.

“I was very pleased with the selection and performance of this year's competitors,” Holcomb said. “Each year they seem to get better and better.”

Holcomb said that all of the Soldiers and NCO's who competed were winners.

“Each of them demonstrated superb abilities and the highest degree of professionalism which is a tribute to their unit's leadership, training and the Soldiers of the Virginia Army National Guard who always stand ready to answer the call,” Holcomb said.

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