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(Enlarge) Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Janice Truong poses for a photo on a Burba Lake pier on Monday afternoon. During an awards ceremony held May 30 at the Post Theater, Truong was named the Ultima Junior Service Member of the Year after completing a series of board appearances. (Photo by Noah Scialom)

After appearing before numerous military boards to answer countless questions from high-ranking enlisted service members, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Janice Truong stood on the stage of the Post Theater to loud applause as she was pinned with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.

The cryptologic technician from Navy Information Operations Command Maryland was among the handful of service members who were honored May 30 at an awards ceremony for their success at the installation's military boards. Most awardees won Soldier, noncommissioned officer or Ultima service member of a quarter.

Other service members were recognized for winning the installation-level year boards.

Soldier of the Year Spc. Gabriel Turnage and Ultima NCO of the Year Sgt. Jennifer Ream were unable to attend the ceremony due to deployments.

Truong was honored at the ceremony as the Ultima Junior Service Member of Year for 2012. The Ultima category is for service members of all military branches.

"I was very honored," Truong said. "It's very humbling to represent NIOC Maryland."

Winners went through several board appearances to earn their awards. Prior to attending the installation's boards, service members competed at their company, battalion, squadron and then brigade boards. Year winners attended an additional board after winning a quarter competition.

Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Charles E. Smith said service members were asked various questions ranging from military history to technical manuals. They also were critiqued on their appearance and physical fitness. Preparing for these boards, Smith said, is a huge time-commitment.

"You have to take your personal time to win these type of boards," he said. "It's not something you can pick up today and come up here tomorrow and regurgitate to everybody. You have to study and you have to apply yourself. You have to work on your physical fitness and weight control because your appearance comes into play."

The studying and preparation process is ongoing because boards are so regular, said Truong. But because the few weeks prior to a board are stressful, she said service members need to mentally prepare themselves for the "nerve-racking" board.

"It's difficult, it's always going to be difficult," she said. "I don't think any service member is going to walk in there feeling super confident without any type of nerves."

The long and tedious process, Smith said, pays off in the long run as success at the boards can give service members a boost when it comes time for promotions.

"This is a plus for their careers," he said. "Those certificates go into their records. When the senior leaders review their records for promotion, it's basically a plus-up for them to being selected over their peers."

The 20-minute ceremony to celebrate the achievements of the service members was attended by Smith, Garrison Command Col. Edward C. Rothstein and guest speaker NIOC Command Master Chief Scott Drenning.

During his speech, Drenning discussed leadership. He told the service members that is it crucial for leaders to be visible, including pitching in to help when needed.

"Your Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen need to understand that you aren't above taking out the trash, rolling up your sleeves and getting a little dirty just because you hold a title," Drenning said. "This is a great way to lead by example."

He also encouraged the service members to remain humble, not forget where they came from and to show the people they lead that they are important.

"Even though you might have a lot going on at your desk, your people are your greatest asset," Drenning said. "Make sure they know where you priorities are."

Following the brief speech, the board winners were awarded monetary rewards in addition to a lunch pass to Club Meade, Commander's Coin of Excellence, garrison plaque and prizes from sponsors.

"It feels amazing to be able to represent NIOC and the Navy," Truong said.

Army winners

* Sgt. Timothy Greathouse, NCO of the First Quarter
* Spc. Gabriel Turnage, Soldier of the First Quarter
* Sgt. Zachary Carnaham, NCO of the Second Quarter
* Spc. Kaya Hansen, Soldier of the Second Quarter
* Spc. Gabriel Turnage, Soldier of the Year

Ultima winners

* Sgt. Jennifer Ream, Utlima NCO of the First Quarter
* Petty Officer 2nd Class Janice Truong, Ultima Junior Service Member of the First Quarter
* Staff Sgt. Daniel Decook, Ultima NCO of the Second Quarter
* Airman First Class Liam Tupper, Ultima Junior Service Member of the Second Quarter
* Sgt. Jennifer Ream, Ultima NCO of the Year
* Petty Officer 2nd Class Janice Truong, Ultima Junior Service Member of the Year

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