Havana Schmidt, daughter of James Kelly and Mona Lois Schmidt, won the brigade Class of 2014 Soldier of the Quarter title at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Soldier of the Quarter, commonly referred to as SOQ, is a title awarded to the soldier who best exemplifies the characteristics of an Army leader well versed in professional knowledge with outstanding military bearing. The title is awarded 4 times a year to a cadet from each of the three under classes at West Point. The SOQ award at West Point reflects the same process that leads to the Soldier of the Year award in the regular Army.
To become Soldier of the Quarter at USMA, the candidates go through a series of screenings referred to as boards at the company, battalion, regimental, and finally, the brigade level. To put it in perspective, the brigade, referred to as the Corps of Cadets, is roughly 4,500 strong. The brigade is broken down into four regiments, each at a little over 1,100 cadets. The regiments are comprised of three battalions, each battalion containing three companies- at total of 36 companies. Cadet Schmidt won each board respectively, progressing to win the brigade level title over the course of two weeks.
In each of the boards, the candidates are judged on criteria to include uniform and appearance, military courtesy, professional knowledge, current events, knowledge of standards, and leadership questions. They go before a panel of the senior cadet non-commissioned officers at that respective level of the board. In the brigade board, the panel is comprised of the four regimental sergeants major with the brigade sergeant major presiding as President of the Board. Each member of the panel asks questions to assess the candidate’s knowledge, example questions for professional knowledge being, “What are the 8 direct fire control measures?” or “What are the 10 classes of military supply?” More abstract questions relate to how one would react in specific, real-world situations or responses to recent events in the news. The candidates are judged on how correctly and confidently the questions are answered. The candidates’ leader logs, or records of their military career thus far, are also reviewed to take into account the total person.
The title of Soldier of the Quarter is an honor to the cadet in that it is both a personal accomplishment and a unit accomplishment. Cadet Schmidt represents her company, Golf Company, 2nd Regiment, or G2, and the United States Corps of Cadets, Class of 2014- Forever One Team. She is a graduate of Mason High School, Class of 2010; she will graduate from the Academy in May 2014, commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the Army.