A Fallon-based soldier with the 609th Combat Engineer Co., will represent the battalion this spring in the statewide Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) of the Year program.
Sgt. Jose Ramirez, an eight-year member of the Nevada Army National Guard and a veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom, was recently selected from eight peers who were representing other units from the 757th CBT Sustainment Support Battalion.
“One NCO from each platoon goes in front of a board,” said Ramirez in describing the selection process.
The company then selects the top soldier from the unit competition and submits his or her name to higher headquarters. Competitive events to determine the top soldier include a physical fitness test, written test, weapons familiarization, ruck march and land navigation.
“They rate each soldier and assign a score, and the one with the top accumulated score wins,” Ramirez said.
According to Ramirez, acquired soldiering skills picked up during his time in the National Guard and a deployment to Afghanistan with the 422nd Expeditionary Signal battalion helped him prepare for the administered tests.
“I work on being a good soldier. I love it,” Ramirez said of his career in the National Guard and of his overseas deployment. “It means so much for me to make 20 (years), and I just re-enlisted for six more years.”
Ramirez spent six years with the signal battalion and transferred to the engineer company two years ago to “gain a new experience with a new unit.”
“The two units are night and day,” he added. “This unit is more physically demanding.”
Within the first year of being a combat engineer, Ramirez participated in the grueling Sapper Leadership Training where soldiers had to learn how to rappel off a cliff, swim a specific distance by pushing supplies in a raft and paddling with a supplies on their back and patrol techniques at the U.S. Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center near Bridgeport, Calif.
“Sapper training was the most physically demanding course I have even been to,” Ramirez said. “People ask me why I am here, and I tell them, ‘I want to be an engineer.’”
1st. Lt. Mark Guolart, Ramirez’s platoon leader, said he supports Ramirez in his quest to be the best.
“He is a great representative of the type of NCO that we have in our unit,” Goulart said. “Ramirez shows his commitment for his soldiers and Army Guard.”
Goulart said a goal for unit commanders and leaders is to have quality NCOs train their subordinate soldiers.
Ramirez, a 2006 Reno High School graduate, attended classes at the University of Nevada, Reno, and currently works for his father’s auto body shop, a trade he learned while in high school.