On 3- 4 March 2012, Headquarters, 301st Quartermaster Regional Support Group held a Junior Enlisted Promotion Board. Four Active Guard Reserve Sergeants gathered in a room anxiously waiting for the Promotion Board to begin.
I have been a competitor in many different types of Army Boards; however, on this occasion I was a mentor. It is an incredibly different experience as a mentor verses being a participant. As a mentor, my aim was to coach and encourage each of the participants. One participant asked me, “What did you do to relax when you went to Boards?” I shared different techniques, but the bottom line is that at least some nervousness is natural. Relaxation techniques that work for some, may not work for others. We have all been there and know that regardless of how much or little you prepare, when it comes time to pound on that door three times with confidence, nearly every symptom of shock these Soldiers memorized from the study guide, makes a surprise appearance. On 4 March, as they awaited their turn, each participant dealt with their anxiety in a different way.
Sgt. Jill Eshleman of 3rd Platoon, 542nd Quartermaster Company, paced the entire room as she answered different questions being thrown at her as a last minute review. There was laughter from the other participants and mentors as she answered each question with confidence and perfection, while claiming she could not remember anything.
Sgt. Rashieda Austin of 7th Platoon, 542nd Quartermaster Company, decided that if she didn’t know it by now then she just wasn’t going to remember it. She escaped the anxiety of the day by walking around with the lint roller and making sure the participants’ uniforms were lint free prior to appearing before the Board. On occasion, she would attempt to answer one of the study guide questions before Sgt. Eshleman, but she wasn’t quite fast enough.
Sgt. Zackary Raskie of 6th Platoon, 542nd Quartermaster Company, sat as he was obviously reviewing questions quietly to himself. His sponsor, Staff Sgt. Holmes, occasionally reviewed how to report to the Board or how to properly answer questions. Every now and then when Sgt. Raskie would stand and stretch, Sgt. Austin was standing by to make sure his uniform had not acquired more lint since the last time she checked.
Sgt. Heather Boyd walked in the room with a bright smile and ready to go. I checked her uniform and then she sat down next to her sponsor, Master Sgt. McGraw. Appearing very focused, she opened her study guide and started reviewing the topics for the Board. Master Sgt. McGraw tried to convince her that she should close the study guide and relax, but she was not having any part of that. He said, “You got this Sgt. Boyd!” She just smiled and continued to study.
What a rewarding day it was for me to be able to not only coach, counsel, and mentor Non-Commissioned Officers, but also be a part of an experience they will remember forever.