2011, Secretary of the Army, Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year Competition board members, left to right, Master Sgt. Carroll Hopkins; 94th Training Division; Sgt. Major Diane Ward, Sgt. Major, Department of the Army G1; board president, Command Sgt. Major (CSM) Connie Commenia, CSM, Army Reserve Careers Division; Sgt. Major Gary Goodwich, HRC Fort Knox, Reserve Component Transition Branch and Master Sgt. William Familo, Army Reserve Careers Division.
Written by Spc. CaTria Williamson
Tightly clasped hands and palms moisten with perspiration. Shoes of various sizes pitter-patter across the carpeted waiting room. As each candidate paces about, only being permitted to go to the restroom, heartbeats escalate, tapping in cadence. Thoughts run rapid while time unhurriedly passes. The candidates for the Secretary of the Army, Army Reserve Careers Counselor Competition await their opportunity to go before the board members.
The large conference room, partitioned into 3 sections, has multiple round tables and chairs. Competitors partake in the light refreshments of coffee, water, and juice. Some talk to their mentors for further words of encouragement and reassurance. Others make small alignments and quick adjustments to medals and awards. The rest, just sit patiently muttering answers to possible board questions, to assure they have memorized and studied all that they can.
Looking down the corridor, the dark wood of the conference room door is guarded by a Master Sergeant a Sergeant First Class. A Secretary of the Army, Army Reserve Careers Counselor Competition banner hangs alongside the door.
The well adorned Army Service Uniforms of each of the candidates move down the hall. With their mentors walking beside them, the competitors are stopped and made to wait outside, while their mentors go in before the board. They will first be asked about the candidate to be presented on their behalf, and then permitted to sit and evaluate their mentee.
Three firm hard knocks on the door of the board room are the Golden Ticket to the moment of truth for each candidate.
As one candidate exits, she sighs a breath of relief. A smile of confidence and accomplishment sweeps her face. The door closes briefly, only to creak back open to notify the next candidate. He stands, straightens his jacket with a slight tug on the bottom hem, comes to the position of attention and proceeds to the board room.
Competitors for the Army Reserve Career Counselor of the Year Board are growing anxious as they await their moment to stand before the elite.