[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]                                                                                                                   October 24, 2008
People

88th RRC Soldier wins 
Army Soldier of Year competition

By C. Todd Lopez, Army News Service

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Two Soldiers, both from the reserve components, were named the Army’s best warriors during the 2008 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition here.

Photo: Spc. David R. Obray (left) and Staff Sgt. Michael T. Noyce Merino practice adjusting the head spacing and timing on an M2 .50-caliber machine gun during the Army’s Best Warrior Competition. Obray was selected the Army Soldier of the Year, while Noyce Merino was chosen the Army NCO of the Year. (Photo by C. Todd Lopez)
Spc. David R. Obray (left) and Staff Sgt. Michael T. Noyce Merino practice adjusting the head spacing and timing on an M2 .50-caliber machine gun during the Army’s Best Warrior Competition. Obray was selected the Army Soldier of the Year, while Noyce Merino was chosen the Army NCO of the Year. (Photo by C. Todd Lopez)

Staff Sgt. Michael T. Noyce Merino, Army National Guard, was chosen the Army’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. Spc. David R. Obray, U.S. Army Reserve, was chosen Soldier of the Year. Obray is from the 88th Regional Readiness Command and won the Army Reserve Best Warrior competition at Fort Mc-Coy in July to earn the right to compete at the Army-level contest.

The two Soldiers, along with 22 of their peers — a total of two Soldiers from each of 12 Army major commands — competed for the titles during the "Army’s Best Warrior Competition" Sept. 29 to Oct. 3 at Fort Lee, Va.

The competition is in its seventh year, the first was held in 2002.

While this is not the first time a member of the reserve component has won — two years ago an activated Army Reserve specialist won Soldier of the Year while competing for United States Army, Europe — this is the first time that both the NCO and Soldier of the Year came from the reserve components.

"This is a direct reflection of the goodness of what the National Guard and Army Reserve provides for the Army," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston. "It’s the civilian-acquired skills, the education, that our Soldiers, our Citizen-Soldiers bring to the fight every day that makes us who we are."

The week-long competition included events designed to test a Soldier’s mettle in areas like land navigation and physical fitness as well as their knowledge of various warrior tasks and battle drills.

Overall, the competition asks Soldiers to show their ability to complete the tasks most often needed in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. Challenges from the competition are drawn from real-life scenarios in the global war on terror.

Preston also said the Army-level competition, and the smaller company- and battalion-level competitions Soldiers must compete in to get to Army level, are designed to get competitors to concentrate on the knowledge and skills needed to become better leaders and Soldiers.

"What they do is promote self-development and self-study and it gets our young Soldiers and NCOs really getting into and studying doctrine and becoming subject-matter experts in their professions," Preston said. "I’m very proud of what these warriors have accomplished and all the ones that competed in the competition."

Both Noyce Merino and Obray said they were honored to have competed in the Best Warrior Competition.

"A lot of competitors, especially the NCOs, were just extremely skilled Soldiers," Noyce Merino said.

"I felt honored to be competing against them. Now that I have won the competition, I feel it is my responsibility to represent them and all the Soldiers in the active Army and the Guard."

Obray said he knows he hasn’t seen the last of the Soldiers he competed against.

"My fellow competitors were outstanding individuals and there is no doubt I will see them again," he said. "From the beginning my mindset was this is a lot of training and I looked forward to brining it back to my unit."

 

[ Top of Page ]

[ The Real McCoy Online Home ]