By SGT EDDIE SIGUENZA
Guam Army National Guard
CAMP SPANN, Afghanistan—The professionalism of Guam Army National Guard soldiers in performing their Operation Enduring Freedom mission was recognized once again as two “Chamorri Warriors” swept NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan honors in September, for the second consecutive quarter.
Staff Sgt. Joshua M. Losongco, a squad leader from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment, earned the NTM-A’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter while fellow Alpha Company soldier Spc. Charles C. Pangelinan captured Soldier of the Quarter recognition.
The Guam pair stood before a board of senior noncommissioned officers, some of whom are serving in active duty roles in the U.S. Army, and successfully answered questions ranging from military history to current OEF operations.
"Both of them reflected leadership and professionalism that put them in a category above others. It showed a lot about their character," said Command Sgt. Maj. Judson A. Gee Jr., of Regional Command-North, NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A). "Their command presence was the biggest thing that stood out. They took the time away from their normal duties to prepare for the competition. That says a lot about them and the Guam Army Guard."
Their victory follows Guam’s success during August’s NTM-A honors. Charlie Company’s Eric G. Gatmen won Soldier of the (Third) Quarter, while Sgt. Gordon G. Blackmon took top NCO of the (Third) Quarter, creating the first Guam sweep. Pangelinan and Losongco followed two months later.
"It’s a key stepping stone in my military career," said Pangelinan, who was promoted to his present rank after receiving an Army award for his achievements. "It’s a big accomplishment for me. I had to go against experienced specialists to win it."
Pangelinan, 21, an Agat, Guam resident, is one of Alpha’s communication specialists. He’s a radio and telephone operator.
Losongco edged out his closest competitor, an engineer from an active U.S. Army unit, to earn the NTM-A title. He said he wanted to win the competition for his unit, currently located in northern Afghanistan.
"It was an honor to represent Alpha," Losongco said. "I wanted to take on the challenge. There was a lot of studying to do off duty, so it really was about time management. That was the most challenging part."
Gee awarded Losongco and Pangelinan with Army Achievement Awards. He commended both soldiers during Alpha’s late September formation at Camp Spann, Afghanistan.
The NTM-A is a subordinate of the International Security Assistance Force, the U.S.-led coalition force assigned to assist the Afghan government and its security forces. The NTM-A is headquartered at Camp Eggers, Kabul. More than two dozen NATO and about 10 non-NATO countries currently support NTM-A’s goals and mission.
"Just about every organization out here knows Guam has outstanding soldiers," said Command Sgt. Maj. Mel Hennegan, of Task Force Guam. "This is another example of Guam Guardsmen setting goals and reaching them. They [Losongco and Pangelinan] stepped forward and received what they properly earned."