Highlander NCO sets standard for top honors
Sgt. Mark Miranda
4th BCT, 1st Armored Div. Public Affairs
Today’s noncommissioned officer is the primary and most visible leader responsible for executing the unit’s mission and for training the bulk of military personnel, the enlisted Soldier. Junior noncommissioned officers start off figuring out what their leadership style is, and focus accordingly to use what works to truly embody what makes the NCO the backbone of the Army.
Sgt. Hector H. Favela is a noncommissioned officer with B Company, 121st Brigade Support Battalion. He is a welder and metalworker, and he is the man to go to when a vehicle needs to be up-armored. Favela also happens to be the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
“It was announced at our spring ball. I am so excited that out of 3,000-plus people, my husband is the winner. He truly is a wonderful person in uniform or not,” said Favela’s wife, Cynthia.
Favela said that there was much to do in the way of preparation for the competition, the first of its kind for 4-1 AD.
“Being named my brigade’s NCO of the Year is a privilege, especially in a unit like this where there’s no shortage of outstanding NCOs in all different career fields. I had to be knowledgeable on the warrior tasks and drills. There was a 50-question, written test that covered areas such as land navigation. I wrote an essay on what ‘Army Strong’ means to me. There was a board with the seven command sergeants major from each of [the brigade’s] battalions,” Favela said.
The questions covered several topics: first aid, weapons, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and regulations.
“The type of stuff for which you’ll hit the Army study guides hard, I was lucky though; the material was fresh in my mind,” he said. “I had gone from the staff sergeant promotion board straight to the NCO of the Quarter boards. I also had previous experience with the company and battalion Soldier of the Month boards.”
Personality and character traits are often a key component to defining an NCO’s leadership style.
“He takes care of his family and his Soldiers. I could not have asked for a better husband, and his Soldiers are so lucky they have a great NCO that will take care of them – not only on the battlefield, but here on the homefront as well,” said Cynthia.
Pvt. Ryan St. Clair, a light-wheel vehicle mechanic, is one of several Soldiers in a squad led by Favela.
“He’s a great leader – very trusting. I say that because he gives us a lot of responsibility, which helps us more as we move up through the ranks. He leads by example,” St. Clair said. “Sergeant Favela has been there for me as a mentor. He’s helped me with some of the on-the-job training aspects of what we do, shown me how to do the ‘hookups’ with [vehicle] recovery missions.”
Favela describes his approach to leadership as hands-on.
“As much as possible, I like to be present for everything my section does,” said Favela. “I’m lucky I have a good group of Soldiers. I trust that what I task them with will get done … but I still check on them.”
Currently focused on preparing his Soldiers for upcoming deployment, Favela is also working toward his promotion to staff sergeant.
“My recommendation to the young, junior-enlisted Soldier is to be as involved as you possibly can,” he said. “Compete in boards to gain both knowledge and confidence. It is challenging, and they should want to be challenged.”