2LT Kyle Soler earns Patterson Award
2LT Kyle Soler, pictured as a sergeant on deployment to Iraq, was named the Patterson Award winner Thursday.

FORT BENNING, Ga. - 2LT Kyle Soler was named 2009's most distinguished Infantry graduate Thursday during the Officer Candidate School Hall of Fame and Patterson Award dinner at the Benning Conference Center.

The Patterson Award was established in 1952 by friends of Judge Robert Patterson and includes a certificate of achievement, money, engraved pistol and a letter of commendation from the U.S. Army Infantry School commandant. Patterson served in World Wars I and II and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his heroic actions during a daylight reconnaissance mission Aug. 14, 1918. Patterson was also awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star and Purple Heart. Patterson went on to serve on the U.S. District Court and Court of Appeals before becoming the undersecretary of war for President Franklin Roosevelt and the secretary of war under President Harry Truman.

"When faced with incomplete information and overwhelming pressure every Soldier has a choice to make which they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. Judge Patterson made that choice, at the risk of his own life, to safeguard the lives of his men," Soler said. "His success helped to bring them home alive and I am honored to be a recipient of an award in his name."

MG(R) Eldon Bargewell, a 1997 OCS Hall of Fame inductee and recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, was the guest speaker for the dinner. MG Michael Ferriter, commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence, presented Soler with an engraved 9 mm Beretta and COL Bryan Owens, USAIS commandant, presented Soler with a check for $2,000. LTC Dean Bushnell, commander of 3rd Battalion (OCS), 11th Infantry Regiment, was on hand to present the certificate of achievement.

"He's the total package," Bushnell said. "I remember him when he went through the course and what stood out to me was his maturity. He maintains the balance between family life and his professional military career better than most. Then you add in his wartime experience and it all led to him being selected."

Bushnell said the best Infantry officers from each of the 17 classes last year were considered for the award.

Soler enlisted in the military in 2005 and attended one station unit training and Airborne School at Fort Benning. He deployed twice with the 25th Infantry Division (Airborne) in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, served in positions from fire team leader to squad leader and is a member of the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club.

"As an enlisted Soldier I saw how the military worked from the ground up," Soler said. "I believe the strength of the U.S. Army is in the courage and intelligence of its Soldiers. With quality leadership those Soldiers will always be successful."

In 2009, Soler attended Officer Candidate School and was named the Distinguished Leadership graduate and commissioned an Infantry officer. He completed the Basic Officer Leadership Course and the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course on the commandant's list. Soler has attended Ranger School, Jumpmaster School, Basic Mountaineering School, Warrior Leader Course and the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with Valor, two Purple Hearts and the Combat Infantryman's Badge. He is currently assigned to 1st Squadron, 91st Cavalry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team out of Schweinfurt, Germany.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16