In Afghanistan, Guam Soldiers Earn High NTM-A Recognition

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CAMP EGGERS, Afghanistan – Two Soldiers from the Guam Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 294th Infantry Regiment earned high honors from the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A) recently.

Sgt. Gordon G. Blackmon, air movement noncommissioned officer (NCO) for Headquarters-Headquarters Company, earned NTM-A’s NCO of the Quarter honor while Spc. Eric G. Gatmen of Charlie Company earned NTM-A’s Soldier of the Quarter as well.

The duo stood before a committee of senior NCOs that included Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Cervantes, NTM-A command sergeant major, and answered questions relating to the U.S. Army and Operation Enduring Freedom. They scored the highest amongst competitors from other units.

[The winning duo from the Guam Army National Guard’s 1-294th Infantry Regiment display their impact Army Achievement Medals Aug. 22 at Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan. Sgt. Gordon G. Blackmon of Headquarters-Headquarters Company, left, and Spc. Eric G. Gatmen of Charlie Company were named the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan’s Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Quarter, respectively. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]

“We studied. We were prepared,” said Blackmon. “We’re thankful we were given the opportunity.”

Cervantes commended the Guam Guardsmen and awarded each with an NTM-A coin. Speaking before a formation, Cervantes praised Blackmon and Gatmen and the Guam Guard overall for having “outstanding Soldiers who know their jobs very well and carry out their missions professionally.”  

[Sgt. Gordon G. Blackmon of Headquarters-Headquarters Company, 1-294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard, receives an impact Army Achievement Medal Aug. 22 from Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, commander, Task Force Guam, after Blackmon earned the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A)’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter at Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]

Blackmon and Gatmen earned impact Army Achievement Medals. Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, Task Force Guam commander, pinned the medals on them. The Soldiers were applauded by Charlie, Echo and HHC Soldiers who witnessed the honors.

“It’s like what Command Sgt. Maj Cervantes said, Guam has outstanding Soldiers and this is proof of that,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Mel Hennegan, Task Force Guam command sergeant major.

Cervantes is the direct senior enlisted advisor to Lt. Gen. Ken Tovo, NTM-A commander.

The NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, headquartered at Camp Eggers, is a subordinate of the Afghanistan International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) that oversees training and equipping of Afghanistan forces throughout the country.

Almost three dozen NATO countries, as well as close to a dozen non-NATO nations, contribute to NTM-A’s mission.

[Spc. Eric G. Gatmen of Charlie Company, 1-294th Infantry Regiment, Guam Army National Guard, receives an impact Army Achievement Medal Aug. 22 from Lt. Col. Michael Tougher, commander, Task Force Guam, after Gatmen earned the NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan (NTM-A)’s Soldier of the Quarter at Camp Eggers, Kabul, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Eddie Siguenza/Released)]