Army names 7th Army NCO, 1ID Soldier as its 'best warriors'
October 6, 2009
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 6, 2009) -- An NCO academy leader in Germany and an intelligence specialist from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., earned top honors this past week at the Army's 2009 Best Warrior Competition.
Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Beckman, U.S. Army Europe, was named NCO of the Year. Spc. Clancy Henderson of U.S. Army Forces Command won Soldier of the Year.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston announced the winners Monday during the 8th Annual Noncommissioned Officer of the Year - Soldier of the Year Awards Luncheon, part of the Association of the United States Army's annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter W. Chiarelli recognized all 24 men and women who represented their commands during six days of tough competition last week at Fort Lee, Va.
Chiarelli honored the Soldiers at the luncheon as "the best of the best." He admitted that the luncheon is his favorite event of AUSA "because it celebrates the most important part of our Army -- our people."
"It is especially meaningful to be presenting these awards at such a pivitol time. Our nation and Army have been at war for eight years -- the longest we have fought with an all-volunteer force -- and I believe that distinction speaks volumes of the men and women here today," said Chiarelli.
Twenty-four warriors representing 12 U.S. Army major commands competed in the Army's Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee Sept. 27- Oct. 2. The competition tested the Soldiers' skills, qualities and abilities through sergeants major boards, tasks and battle drills, combatives, written examinations, M-4 rifle qualification and day and night Urban Warfare Orientation courses.
Sgt. 1st Class Beckman serves as senior small group Leader at the 7th Army NCO Academy in Grafenwoehr, Germany for U.S. Army Europe. Beckman has been in the Army for 12 years and has deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He has attended the sapper school and the combat lifesaver course.
"For me, the driving force is the Soldiers that I serve with, work with and work for," said the NCO from Venango, Neb. "The fact that they showed the confidence in me to say, 'We want you to represent our company. We want you to represent our academy. We all want you to represent our major command."
Spc. Henderson serves as an all-source intelligence analyst with the 193rd Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, at Fort Leonard Wood. A native of Longmont, Colo., he has been in the Army for two years and is currently attending the American Military University, pursuing a degree in intelligence analysis.
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"I'm very excited to be able to be named the Soldier of the Year," Henderson said. "I know that we have a great Army, we have great leaders. I have great leaders and NCOs, and I'm excited to be able to come out here and represent people that I know are great and are well-trained and to represent the best Army in the world."
Sgt. 1st Class Beckman and Spc. Henderson will be spokespersons for the Army throughout the upcoming year.
"The NCOs and Soldiers I observed this week are nothing short of inspiring," Preston said. "They endured an exhausting week of physical and mental testing and evaluation. I am very, very proud of all of them and they are all winners."