JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas –
U.S. Army Medical Command’s top career counselors competed at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston Feb. 22 and 23 for the title of MEDCOM’s Career Counselor of the Year.
Sgt. 1st Class Angie Carper, Madigan Army Medical Center, won the coveted title, and will represent MEDCOM at the Secretary of the Army Career Counselor of the Year Board in March.
“I didn’t think I was going to win, so it’s definitely a surprise, but a wonderful surprise to be able to represent MEDCOM as the career counselor of the year at HQDA,” Carper said. “I’m nervous, but I’m very excited.”
Carper said her preparation for the competition has made her better at her job because she expanded her knowledge and now has a better understanding of regulations and policy.
“I know I am a better career counselor today than I was three months ago when I started this,” she said. “I’m going to study, do more PT and continue doing what I’m doing, so I will be better for the next one.”
Master Sgt. Jason Pickett, MEDCOM Senior Retention Operations NCO, coordinated the competition, and said career counselors perform many different tasks daily, so the competition is designed to push them beyond their comfort zone.
“The competition is a test on their technical skills as career counselors by putting them in a situation that creates a little tension,” he said. “We also assess Soldier skills, so it’s a holistic approach to evaluate how proficient they are with their craft.”
Pickett said this competition makes career counselors better at their jobs by enabling them to think outside of their unit level and think more on a strategic level by analyzing policy.
“It puts them in a position where they’re thinking more like a senior career counselor, or as a command career counselor at a division or higher and forces them to see things on a larger scale,” he said.
Competitor Staff Sgt. Brandon Richter, Troop Command, Brooke Army Medical Center, who represented MRC, West said he had a great experience competing and encourages career counselors to compete in future competitions to learn new things and get recognition in the field.
“You learn something new – even if it’s one or two things you didn’t know before, you pick something up every time you do these type of competitions,” he said.
Staff Sgt. Lisandra Mercado-Lopez, MEDDAC West Point, who represented MRC, East said competing in competitions like this is important as an NCO to inspire junior Soldiers.
“Soldiers like to see their leaders participate in competitions like this. It motivates them and increases motivation in the organization,” she said. “This is an experience that you get knowledge for yourself, but experience that you can use in the future to share with your Soldiers.”