Staff Sgt. Gaelen Lowers
8th Theater Sustainment Command Public Affairs
FORT SHAFTER — “The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success. I think you can accomplish anything if you’re willing to pay the price.”
Vince Lombardi, most notably the head coach of the Green Bay Packers during the 1960s, said this memorable quote to his players before heading out onto the field.
During the Sergeant Major of the Army’s Awards Luncheon of the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., after a grueling week of competition, the sergeant major of the army, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, and the Department of the Army announced the winner of the 2012 Best Warrior Competition, effectively naming the Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year.
The annual three-day event brought together 24 of the Army’s finest warriors, representing 12 commands from across the Army, to Fort Lee, Va., Oct. 15, to compete in the competition. Described as the “Super Bowl” of Army competitions, the Best Warrior celebrated its eleventh anniversary this year and is traditionally overseen by the Sergeant Major of the Army.
Spc. Jose Figueroa, SAMS-1E (Standard Army Maintenance System – Enhanced) operator for 536th Maintenance Control Section, 524th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 45th Sustainment Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, participated in the competition, but fell just short of the top.
“Its good training,” said Figueroa during the stress fire portion of the competition. “They tested everything – your body and mind, but it was a good learning experience. When I become an NCO one day, I’ll be able incorporate the lessons I’ve learned here into sergeant’s time to train my Soldiers.”
Very few Soldiers ever make it to the level that Figueroa has. After competing in boards and competitions from the unit level, through their battalion, to the brigade, then the division level, the command competition, before finally reaching the DA competition, Figueroa has been competing for more than a year.
“It’s been a lot of training,” he added. “It’s just been building up these past couple of months.”
Although Figueroa did not win the competition, his unit and the Soldiers here at the 8th TSC are still proud of him and consider him a winner.
“Good job on representing the 8th TSC, USARPAC and Hawaii,” said Sgt. Trinity Avilla, protocol noncommissioned officer for the 8th TSC. “You have something to be proud of.”
“Making it there is an accomplishment in itself,” said Spc. Larry Freeman, information technician for the 8th TSC. “That is amazing and really something to be proud of!”
“I am extremely proud of his courage, his discipline, his military bearing, and most importantly, his continued service,” Sgt. 1st Class Chrystal Irby, current operations noncommissioned officer for the 8th TSC. “I am also very proud of his ability to go all the way to Fort Lee, Va., and represent the 8th TSC and USARPAC in the fashion he did. He is always a winner in our eyes.”
“We want to let you know that we are extremely proud of you,” said Col. Charles Maskell, deputy commander, 8th TSC. “We are most proud that you gave it your all through every aspect of this competition. From the range, to the physical training, to the board, to your preparation, you gave it your all. You gave your heart and soul to this competition and the 8th TSC and we couldn’t be more proud. You serve as a shining example and an inspiration to every one of us, and I know you will continue to do great things in the Army and inspire Soldiers with your performance.”
The Army’s 2012 Soldier of the Year is Sgt. Saral Shrestha, Power Generation Equipment Repairer, Group Service Support Company, Group Support Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Army Special Forces Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.
The Army’s 2012 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year is Staff Sgt. Matthew Senna, Infantryman, Bravo Company, 7th Army NCO Academy, Germany.