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1st Recruiting Brigade NCO wins USAREC

By By Capt. Jessica Rovero USAREC

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A 1st Recruiting Brigade noncommissioned officer became U.S. Army Recruiting Command's Fiscal Year 2018 Career Counselor of the Year during a competition Nov. 15-16 here.

Staff Sgt. Kelvin Cepeda took home top honors and will go on to represent U.S. Army Recruiting Command at the Training and Doctrine Command Career Counselor of the Year Competition in January.

The two-day USAREC competition was held to identify and recognize the competitor that most epitomizes the competencies expected of active- duty career counselors.

"It's important to hold competitions like this for a few key reasons," said Master Sgt. Richard Erickson, command career counselor for U.S. Army Recruiting Command, "It tests the knowledge of their craft, solidifies their commitment to professional development, and it sharpens their comprehension of current policy and regulatory guidance. It also allows the command the opportunity to acknowledge the importance of their career counselors."

The command currently has 16 career counselors who facilitate all retention actions with more than 9,000 enlisted personnel.

Four career counselors competed this year:
Staff Sgt. Kelvin Cepeda
Sgt. 1st Class Christina Leduc
Sgt. 1st Class Jesse Ryan
Sgt. 1st Class Robb Smiskey 1st Recruiting Brigade
2nd Recruiting Brigade
3rd Recruiting Brigade
5th Recruiting Brigade
Ryan was named runner-up behind Cepeda.

The competition included a 50-question examination, an Army Physical Fitness Test, and culminated with a four-panel board appearance where competitors were asked questions spanning 18 different topics.

"When a career counselor competes, it shows they have the desire and drive to display their knowledge base and Soldier competencies," Erickson said. As they compete and move forward, it provides competitors exposure to many of our career field's senior-most leaders which can be beneficial for future assignments, school and promotion opportunities."