News>Feature - Deployed Airman wins Army Competition
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Master Sgt. John Bogart, 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron engineering assistant, hauls a series of “jerry cans” full of water a combined total of 200 yards before participating in a stressed marksmanship shoot at Forward Operating Base Sharana June 3. The shoot was part of the Task Force Hammer 3rd Quarter NCO Board competition hosted by the Army’s 176th Engineer Brigade, in which Sergeant Bogart was the overall winner. (Courtesy photo
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Master Sgt. John Bogart, 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron engineering assistant, surges out in front of the pack in a 3.3 kilometer road march during the Task Force Hammer 3rd Quarter NCO Board competition at Forward Operating Base Sharana June 3. The competition was hosted by the Army’s 176th Engineer Brigade. Sergeant Bogart finished with a top time of 24:43 and was the overall competition winner. (Courtesy photo)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- Master Sgt. John Bogart, 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron engineering assistant (far right), performs self aid buddy care on a simulated wounded solider at Forward Operating Base Sharana June 3. Sergeant Bogart had to demonstrate a high level of SABC competency during the Task Force Hammer 3rd Quarter NCO Board competition hosted by the Army’s 176th Engineer Brigade. Sergeant Bogart was the overall winner of the event. (Courtesy photo)
BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan – (from left) Army Brig. Gen. Lester Simpson, 176th Engineer Brigade commander, Master Sgt. John Bogart, 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron engineering assistant and Master Sgt. Timothy Horvath, 577th EPBS first sergeant, pose for a photograph after General Simpson awarded Sergeant Bogart the Army Commendation Medal at Forward Operating Base Sharana June 4. Sergeant Bogart received the medal for his performance in the Task Force Hammer 3rd Quarter NCO Board competition, hosted by the Army’s 176th EN BDE. (Courtesy photo)
by Staff Sgt. John Wright
455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs
6/8/2011 - BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan -- For most people, jogging 3.3 kilometers (a little more than two miles) under the hot Afghan sun in under 25 minutes might seem like an accomplishment. Try doing it in body armor that weighs nearly 40 pounds while carrying an M-4 assualt rifle and 9 mm pistol, each with several magazines of ammunition.
This was just one phase of a two-day Army competition held at Forward Operating Base Sharana, June 3-4 in which Master Sgt. John Bogart took first place. Sergeant Bogart is a engineering assistant with the 877th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Squadron located at Camp Marmal, Afghanistan. After hearing about the Task Force Hammer 3rd Quarter NCO Board competition through his commander, he decided to see how he measured up.
"I run marathons for the All National Guard Marathon Team," the Wichita, Kan., native said. "I thought it would be interesting to see where I stood physically against the Army and I also wanted to represent my squadron."
The competition was organized and run by the Army's 176th Engineer Brigade and is broken down into two groups: enlisted service members and NCOs. The top NCO from each of the four battalions in the brigade and one NCO from the 577th Expeditionary Prime BEEF Group is selected to compete.
The first challenge is a road march: 3.3 kilometers of heat, sweat and pain that tests the resolve of competitors.
"The elevation and hills that you had to conquer for the run were extremely challenging," Sergeant Bogart, who is deployed from Kansas Air National Guard's 184th Civil Engineer Squadron, said. "It was hard to breathe and run with all the gear on."
The 38 year old guardsman met the challenge head on, taking first place in the run with a top time of 24:43, a time that drew praise from the event's organizer, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Milford, 176th EN BDE.
"Sergeant Bogart was impressive on the road march," the sergeant major said.
After the run, competitors then had to participate in a marksmanship stress shoot with the M-4 and 9 mm weapons. Each person had to run carrying a full "jerry can" of water (roughly five gallons) 50 yards, set it down and run back to get another jerry can and repeat the process.
"Once done, you run over to your M-4 and shoot a target that was 20 meters away," Sergeant Bogart explained. "The target was a picture of two targets where one figure was in front of the other. The objective was to shoot the head of the object that was being obscured from the object in the front."
Upon completing the M-4 shoot, competitors had to perform the entire process over again, only this time shooting the 9 mm. Each weapon also had blanks in the magazines to cause malfunctions to test the competitors' knowledge of clearing a malfunction.
Land navigation was up next.
"It's a challenge in itself to walk up and down the hills," Sergeant Bogart said. "But you also had to know your pace count. You were giving a distance and a bearing and you had to walk the bearing with a compass."
The ground pounding didn't end there. The determined senior NCO then had to walk the 3.3 kilometers back to the compound, where a combat lifesaver test with multiple scenarios awaited. Sergeant Bogart was more than up to this particular challenge having been a self aid buddy care instructor in the past.
According to the sergeant, the most challenging part of day one was still yet to come: he had 30 minutes to write a 250-500 word essay on leadership.
"It was a definite challenge because I have never been a person to write essays with correct grammar, sentence structure and flow," Sergeant Bogart explained. "However, I was thankful the question dealt with leadership because as an NCO that's something that's easy to write about."
Day two presented what Sergeant Bogart described as a very daunting task. He had to appear before a board consisting of four Army command sergeant majors, an Air Force chief master sergeant, and two Army first sergeants. The board asked more 30 questions that covered a wide range of topics from the Air Force Professional Development Guide.
The board president, Sergeant Major Milford, was impressed with the Air Force master sergeant's answers.
"He is a very professional and knowledgeable NCO and you can tell he takes his profession very seriously and takes care of his Airman," the veteran soldier said.
Sergeant Bogart's professionalism was also lauded by his 877th EPBS first sergeant, Master Sgt. Timothy Horvath.
"To compete against the high level of NCOs from the Army he competed against, I am extremely proud of the professionalism and effort he put into preparing and executing in the event," Sergeant Horvath said. "I think it speaks volumes to the caliber of NCO the Air Force produces."
Sergeant Horvath, who hails from Howell, Mich. and is deployed from 127th Civil Engineer Squadron at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in Michigan, also explained how the competition showcased that the joint force is on the same page in terms of training and integration.
"We are truly one force, one fight," Sergeant Horvath said. "All the participants were encouraging each other, swapping stories and asking questions about missions. It was clear to me the brotherhood and mutual respect went beyond what our service component is. We are all here as a team to support one another."
As the competitors waited for the board to announce the overall winner, Sergeant Bogart said he began to wonder if he had done enough to at least place respectably.
"I really thought I had lost," the seasoned Airman said. "Everyone represented their Battalion and squadron very well. When they announced that I won, a huge rock fell off my shoulders. I could breathe again."
A final honor was still to come for Sergeant Bogart. In recognition of his achievement, Army Brig. Gen. Lester Simpson, 176th EN BDE commander, awarded the grateful sergeant the Army Commendation Medal.
"It was so surreal," Sergeant Bogart reflected. "Standing in front of everyone as an Air Force member made me feel really proud."
6/9/2011 5:31:25 AM ET Great Job Proud to be a great friend of yours