NEW YORK (Army News Service, April 8, 2009) - The USO of Metropolitan New York hosted its 43rd annual Woman of the Year luncheon Tuesday, honoring exceptional women who have distinguished themselves through tireless commitment and dedication to service.

This year the USO recognized Maj. Gen. Patricia D. Horoho as its military Woman of the Year. The commander of Madigan Army Medical Center and Western Regional Command, and the Army Nurse Corps chief, said she found the honor very humbling.

"This is a reflection of the hard work that the total Army does," she said.

Horoho was unaware of the nomination until she found out she'd been selected for this honor - through a message from the USO.

"It is great that they have created a venue where women of different backgrounds can be recognized," Horoho said.

Each year, the USO presents the Military Leadership Award to female service members who embody the USO's mission and values. Junior-enlisted members (staff sergeant and below) are nominated by their leaders and peers, but only one from each service is selected.

Staff Sgt. Courtnee C. Torres, a traffic accident investigator from the West Point Military Police Company, said receiving this award serves as an incentive for Soldiers to strive to do better.

"Doing our job and taking care of Soldiers, that's what we do," said Torres. "But it is nice to be recognized."

Her company commander, Capt. Jamie Bazdaric, was not surprised at Torres' selection. Prior enlisted, Bazdaric served as her drill sergeant when she entered the Army in 2000.

"The MP Corps is very small," said Bazdaric. "She was one of those Soldiers who always stood out (amongst her peers)."

The two would not run into each other again until Torres arrived at West Point, initially working for Bazdaric at the Provost Marshal's Office.

"She's very modest, humble -- great characteristics to have," he said. "She is a great credit to the (NCO) Corps."

The USO was founded Feb. 4, 1941, in Times Square, New York, in response to a request from President Franklin D. Roosevelt to provide morale and recreation services to the nation's men and women in uniform.

(Master Sgt. Jennifer K. Yancey serves with the Army's Office of the Chief of Public Affairs-Northeast in New York.)

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