10th Mountain Division announces noncommissioned officer and soldier of the year

10th Mountain Division has announced their Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year after a competition held May 7 – 10, 2018, at Fort Drum, New York.

Staff Sgt. Cain Pavlak, a cavalry scout for 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, is the 10th Mountain Division NCO of the Year.

Spc. Michael Lima, an infantryman for 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team is the 10th Mountain Division Soldier of the Year.

The competition events included an Army Physical Fitness Test, land navigation, live-fire marksmanship, an obstacle course and a six mile road march.

Competitors also conducted a warrior tasks and drills lane where they established radio communications in order to call in a medevac. They then loaded a medical dummy that mimics the weight of a human body onto a litter and moved the simulated casualty to a notional helicopter landing zone.

A board served as the culminating event for the competition where upon completion they announced the winners.

“I wanted to be able to represent my troop and my squadron, and I was able to do that. I just wanted to make everybody proud,” said Lima. “I am pretty excited and thankful to everybody that has helped me to get this far.”

Lima said that he will go on to compete for the XVIII Airborne Corps Soldier of the Year title. He will spend the coming weeks at Light Fighters School preparing for the competition.

Pavlak explained that he will not be able to represent the 10th Mountain Division for the XVIII Airborne Corps NCO of the Year competition because he has orders for Recruiting and Retention School.

“I’m happy I won. It’s a good feeling to leave knowing that I came in first,” said Pavlak.

Standing in his place to represent the division for the next level of the competition will be Staff Sgt. Ifegwu Ifegwu, who serves in 1-89 CAV alongside Pavlak.

“The first place and second place finishers were from 1-89 CAV. We were separated by one point,” said Pavlak. “NCO wise, I think our performance shows the kind of excellence that 1-89 tries to build up.”

Although Pavlak has to pass the torch, he assures that the 10th Mountain Division will be well represented by Ifegwu.

“He’s stellar, so he is going to crush it, said Pavlak. “There is no doubt in my mind about that.”