FORT KNOX, Ky., Feb. 4, 2020 —
U.S. Army Recruiting Command recognized its fiscal 2020 Career Counselor of the Year during a ceremony here Jan. 27.
Sgt. 1st Class Julian Gerena is a retention instructor at the Recruiting and Retention College. He also competed at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command level and took second place.
“Definitely one of the best performances that we’ve seen. We’re extremely proud of you,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Tabitha Gavia, USAREC’s senior enlisted leader and ceremony host.
The Career Counselor of the Year Competition evaluates Soldiers on the Army Physical Fitness Test, a 50-question written exam, and a board appearance, which tests 18 different topic areas.
“It was an honor to represent the retention department at the schoolhouse,” Gerena said. “We don’t usually get to compete, and to represent them well… it’s just an honor.”
There are several requirements individuals must meet to compete for Career Counselor of the Year. Soldiers must be assigned to USAREC for at least one year, meet all height and weight requirements; have a passing Army Physical Fitness Test within six months; possess a record of successful management of a retention program; demonstrate personal qualities and traits required to be successful as a career counselor; demonstrate a knowledge of Army retention, personnel competency enhancement, and force alignment programs; and receive a recommendation from their chains of command.
Gerena credited his success to his fellow instructors. They helped him study, and he said he wouldn’t have been as successful without them. Gavia emphasized his sentiment as she described what it takes to become a great enlisted leader.
“It takes a village to grow a child, and it takes a ton of peers, subordinates and leaders to grow an amazing noncommissioned officer,” Gavia said.
Gerena encourages his peers to compete in the future.
“Compete! Because it’s the best way to learn about your job - studying all the (regulations) and policies,” he said. “It definitely does set you apart from your peers, and the networking that you get from competing and meeting everybody, you can’t beat that.”