Fort Riley, Kansas



Soldier wins ‘Big Red One’ Career Counselor of the Year

By Spc. Walter Carroll | 1ST INF. DIV. SUST. BDE. PUBLIC AFFAIRS | November 03, 2017

     Staff Sgt. Brittany Armstrong, a career counselor with Special Troops Battalion, 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade, recently won the 1st Infantry Division Career Counselor of the Year competition. Conducted as a two-day event Oct. 3 and 4, Armstrong put in hard work to not only prepare for, but also to win the competition.

     Armstrong has been in the Army for 10 years and became a career counselor in December 2016.

     “I was selected to go to retention school in 2014,” Armstrong said. “I come to find out that Soldiers, mostly new Soldiers, always try to base the Army off their first duty station. Me being in the duty positions I experienced, I know there’s always more to the picture that they’re not seeing. I found that in being the company retention (noncommissioned officer) I was able to talk to these Soldiers and give them more information and give them a different perspective.”

      After gaining experience as a retention NCO, Armstrong decided to drop her packet to become a career counselor. Her journey, which led to her becoming the “Big Red One” Career Counselor of the Year, began at the brigade level, Armstrong said.

     “You get recommended by your brigade to attend the board for the division,” she said.

     The board is composed of a 50-question written exam with 40 active components and 10 reserve components, as well as an Army Physical Fitness Test, which led to the board procedures.

     “I studied — I studied policies, I studied regulations,” Armstrong said. “We have a Career Counselor of the Year study guide; I started with that to get an idea of what type of questions they would be asking.

      Sgt. 1st Class Sixto Santana, the 1st Infantry Division Sustainment Brigade senior career counselor, has worked Armstrong for about a year.

     “I think it was the way she presented herself to the board members,” Santana said. “She was very knowledgeable, she knew the regulations, and not only the regulations, but … situational questions, such as how do you handle a situation to help the Soldier the best way possible to take care of the Soldiers and their families but also to meet the needs of the Army as well.”

      Armstrong will represent the “Big Red One” at the III Corps level of competition Nov. 15 and 16.

      “She’s very passionate in what she does as a career counselor,” Santana said.

      Becoming a Career Counselor of the Year did not come easy for Armstrong.

     “It is challenging and rewarding at the same time because I’ve only been in the field for less than a year and getting out there in front of my seniors with the knowledge that I have, it’s very challenging because you want to know the right answers,” Armstrong said. “Obviously they’ve been in the field a whole lot longer than you have and you don’t want to make them look bad, you just want to do your best and prove to them that you know and you are continuing to learn.”

     The Career Counselor of the Year competition was facilitated by the 1st Inf. Div. Retention Office.

     “Another reason why I decided to pursue the Career Counselor of the Year board was, one, I knew that it would help me and I would learn a lot from reading the policies,” she said. “The more you understand your regulations and policies, the better that you’ll become as a career counselor. Two, I take pride in my unit and I wanted everybody to see that I wanted to represent the brigade and the Special Troops Battalion, because I am the Special Troops Battalion career counselor and I wanted to put our name out there in a positive way.”

     Although Armstrong was the winner, she remained humble about her victory.

     “I didn’t feel like I was there to compete,” Armstrong said. “I was there to allow the division to select a career counselor to represent them at III Corps because we are a team.”

      Armstrong will continue her path by representing the division at III Corps.


Tag Career Counselor of the Year