Dozens of swinging arms slice through the crisp morning air, as Soldiers run around the track. Completing these two miles marks the end of the first event for those competing in the III Armored Corps’ Career Counselor of the Year Competition, which took place at Fort Hood Jan. 9-12, 2023.

The competition tested the best of III Armored Corps’ career counselors through a series of events, beginning with an Army Combat Fitness Test, followed by a written exam and ending in a career counselor formal board.

In the end, only one Soldier from each component would prevail as the III Armored Corps’ Fiscal Year 2023 Career Counselor of the Year. From the active-duty component, that designation belonged to Sgt. 1st Class Quinn Kearsley, 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 1st Armored Division. Taking the title from the reserve component was Sgt. 1st Class Heron Perez, reserve component career counselor for 1st Cavalry Division.

Kearsley drove over eight hours to compete against 12 other representatives from across III Armored Corps’ units.

The competition’s non-commissioned officer in charge, Sgt. 1st Class Alisa Licata, III Armored Corps Headquarters, explained the importance of the Corps’ outlying units traveling to compete.

“We talk to them on a daily basis, whether it be by phone or on a computer, but that’s the only way we know them,” Licata said. “When they come, we get to meet each other essentially.”

The sound of pens scratching against paper marked the beginning of the second event. The demanding written exam consisted of 50 questions.

When reflecting on the exam, competition winner Kearsley shared why it was the most difficult event.

“The written exam was very in-depth; it had a lot of challenging questions that to answer correctly, you really had to study,” Kearsley said.

In spite of this sentiment, out of all the competitors, Kearsley’s written exam scored the highest.

As the final event commenced, well-dressed competitors, adorned in their formal uniform, awaited their turn to enter the board room.

Kearsley’s senior leader, Sgt. 1st Class Brian Blackmore, 1st Bn., 6th Infantry Regt., 2nd BCT, 1st Armored Div., shared the secret to Kearsley’s win.

“It’s his desire to want to study and look into things,” Blackmore said. “When we were preparing for strategic level questions, he likes to think outside the box and is extremely passionate about his job.”

Applause erupted from the atrium as Kearsley was officially named III Armored Corps’ Active Component Career Counselor of the Year for 2023.

“When I get selected for something like this,” Kearsley said, “it just makes me feel like all the extra hard work does pay off. It’s not just for me, it’s for my unit and my Soldiers.”

Following this victory, Kearsley and Perez will represent III Armored Corps in the United States Army Forces Command  competition in early February.