‘Old Soldier’ Claims Top NCO Title
Sgt. 1st Class Lynn Gray leads PT to a group of Soldiers. Gray, a platoon sergeant assigned to Company C, 266th QM Battalion, came out atop a trio of Soldiers who competed for the 23rd QM Brigade Platoon Sergeant of the Year Compeititon held June 22-24 at various locations.

FORT LEE, Va. (July 2, 2009) – Advanced individual training platoon sergeants demonstrate on a daily basis the knowledge, skills and abilities required to mold Soldiers in training to Soldiers capable of performing their missions.

Those qualities were put to the test June 23-25 as the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade completed its first Platoon Sergeant of the Year Competition.

Sgt. 1st Class Lynn Gray, a platoon sergeant assigned to Company C, 262th QM Battalion and self-proclaimed ‘old Soldier,’ came out atop a trio of Soldiers who competed for the title.

“I’m overwhelmed and honored for this opportunity to compete,” she said after the competition. “I’m looking forward to going to the TRADOC competition. It’s going to be challenging.”

Lynn was presented as the victor at the Brigade Honor Competition held Saturday at the Aerial Delivery and Field Services Department hangar. Sgt. 1st Class Kevin M. O’Gaffney, Co. M, 244th QM Battalion, and Sgt. 1st Class Shawn A. Jenkins, Co. W, 266th QM Bn., rounded out the event held at various locations throughout the installation.

The competition was set up in a teach/perform format. Brigade first sergeants and other senior noncommissioned officers evaluated the contestants on how well they conducted training to a small group of randomly-selected Soldiers. The training events included room clearing, physical training and combatives.

The Soldiers performed as they normally would in a board competition and PT test.

Lynn, a replacement for another Soldier slated to compete, said she had only three weeks to prepare and had concerns about her readiness.

“At first I was kind of hesitant (to compete),” said the 17-year-Soldier. “I’m thinking I’m a little older than everybody else, maybe a little wiser and experienced, but I don’t know everything .… In actuality, it is not how old you are, it’s about going out there and doing what you got to do.”

In doing so, she said she was proud to represent her Soldiers and unit, which backed her all the way.

“It was an honor for me to go ahead and do it and to represent Charlie Company,” she said. “I had a lot of support, not enough time, but a lot of support. I received a lot of support from other NCOs who gave me their time that they could’ve been spending with their Families.”

The PSOY Competition replaced the Fort Lee Drill Sergeant of the Year event, last held in 2007, the same year drill sergeants were replaced with platoon sergeants on the installation.

“The Platoon Sergeant of the Year Competition is really a spin-off of the Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition; we wanted to give our NCOs an opportunity to excel and show off their leadership abilities,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gilmore, the 23rd’s top enlisted Soldier. “This was our first one, and I thought all five events really challenged them and proved that all three competitors were capable of winning. Sgt. 1st Class Gray did an excellent job in all events, and overall, showed to be the better of the three. All three did an outstanding job.”

As the winner of the post competition, Gray will now go on to compete in the Training and Doctrine Command-level competition. It is scheduled for late August at TRADOC headquarters, Fort Monroe.

The 23rd, an element of the Quartermaster Center and School, is responsible for annually training thousands of Soldiers in the quartermaster career field and further honing their skills as warriors.