Drive earns Geren Soldier of the Year honors
June 23, 2009
The Drive to Succeed: RDECOM's 2009 Soldier of the Year Spc. Joshua Geren
By Debra Bathmann, CERDEC Public Affairs
It was 7:30 a.m. when Spc. Joshua Geren returned from a grueling workout of sit-ups, push-ups and running. Drenched in sweat, the signs of strenuous physical exertion clearly visible, Geren had just completed part one of the competition for the title of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command's Soldier of the Year.
"I could have done better. It was not up to the standards that I set for myself," Geren said of his performance in the Physical Fitness Test.
The dissatisfaction the Communications-Electronics, Research, Development and Engineering Center soldier registered with his performance - even in the face of the glowing feedback from the sergeants major judging the competition - is indicative of Geren's unswerving drive toward excellence according to his leadership. And it was that drive that ultimately helped earn him the distinction of Soldier of the Year.
"When he found out he was going to be doing this it wasn't, 'Okay, I'll do what I can.' He was going to put his best foot forward to represent RDECOM and CERDEC well. So it wasn't just 'Oh well, I've got to go do this'; It was, 'I'm going to do the best job I can do,'" said Sgt. 1st Class Eric Scheidt, CERDEC Senior Enlisted Advisor and RDECOM Soldier of the Year judge.
"It is a very significant title and a lot of hard work has gone into achieving it," said an excited Geren, who was also required to write an essay on patriotism and field questions from the Sergeants Major Board on topics ranging from what he thought of President Obama's tax incentive to how to treat a wounded Soldier.
The 39-year-old Oklahoma native joined the military in the fall of 2002 after working as a territory manager for a disposable medical equipment company.
"I grew up around the military and had always entertained the thought of joining. Then the war kicked off, and I really wanted to join," said Geren.
He was stationed in Afghanistan throughout 2004 and 2005 and Iraq during 2006 and 2007.
In December of 2008, Geren began working as a satellite communicator and operator in the Space and Terrestrial Command Directorate of CERDEC. Satellite Communications Operations Chief James Gresham saw Geren's hard-working nature and pushed to nominate him for Soldier of the Year.
"Specialist Geren has been a go-getter since his arrival in December. His motivation, eagerness to learn and willingness to jump in and lend a hand has easily made him stand out from his peers," said Gresham. "When the opportunity to select a Soldier to compete for Soldier of the Year presented itself, all the NCOs of the Satellite Equipment Labs easily pointed to Spc. Geren."
With tuition assistance from the Army, Geren is finishing a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Oklahoma. Next, he hopes to acquire a master's degree.
A husband and father of three children, Geren believes that the military has improved his personal growth and helped him be a good family man.
"I have been in the Army for six years now and have completed two combat tours in the Infantry. During that time, I had some unique experiences that changed me. I would hope that I have grown not just as a person, but even more so as a husband and a father to my wife and children," said Geren.
Ultimately, he hopes to climb the ranks and become a sergeant, a goal he now feels closer to reaching after his win.
"At all times, we are striving to be the best we can be. There are all sorts of opportunities that the Army offers to enable you to make an impression and advance," said Geren.
Geren doesn't just have ambitions for himself, however; he nurtures a profound love for his country and wants it to remain, in his words, "the greatest nation the world has ever known."
"To Soldiers, love of country is a part of everyday life. They wear the flag, serve under it and are willing to go anywhere in the world to fight for it and if needed, die for it," Geren wrote in the essay portion of the competition.
Geren is scheduled to participate at the next level for Army Material Command Soldier of the Year July 19-23 at Fort A.P. Hill, Va.
"I will be giving it everything I have, 110 percent," said Geren. "I am looking forward to the challenge."