Soldier of the Year wins corps honor, advances to next level of competition
June 30, 2011
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- After winning the 10th Mountain Division Soldier of the Year competition on Fort Drum, Pfc. Thomas Hauser, a Soldier from 563rd Military Police Company, 91st Military Police Battalion, advanced to compete in the XVIII Airborne Corps Soldier of the Year Board and emerged triumphant.
Six Soldiers competed in the event, contending for the honor to be named XVIII Airborne Corps Soldier of the Year.
During the icebreaker phase on June 13, all competitors were required to take an Army Physical Fitness Test on the day of the board, adding a physical element to an already strenuous competition.
Hauser’s success comes after only 18 months in the Army, 12 of which he has spent stationed at Fort Drum. This board represents his first time competing since starting his military career.
“Everyone in my leadership pitched in to help me be successful for the board,” Hauser said.
“My platoon sergeant and mentor, Sgt. 1st Class (Jamie) Kurtz, along with Staff Sgt. (Julia) Stearns, my squad leader, and Sgt. (Stephen) Holderby were all vital to my success. They took time out of their busy schedules and were dedicated into helping me achieve this goal.”
The four-day competition began June 13, with Soldiers competing in nine events. Events included an Army Physical Fitness Test, M-4 range, uniform inspection, day urban orienteering, written exam, written essay, weapons tasks, night urban orienteering and warrior tasks.
Soldiers were required to complete the stations in rapid succession, which tested their knowledge of core Soldier competencies.
Soldiers also had to pass a written test, which consisted of 50 common skill knowledge questions. After testing was completed, the Soldiers were asked questions about the new changes to the Army uniform in a two-page essay format.
At the end of the competition, Hauser was presented with an Army Achievement Medal, two coins from unit representatives who attended the ceremony and more than $1,000 in gift cards presented by several retired command sergeants major and Army-affiliated entities. Hauser is scheduled to receive the Army Commendation Medal from his parent unit, the 91st Military Police Battalion.
“The thing I enjoyed the most was being able to compete against my peers. Now it’s just a matter of preparing myself to compete at the (U.S. Army Forces Command) level,’’ Hauser said.
"The competition was challenging, but very rewarding. I'm very grateful that my NCO support channel was there to motivate and mentor me," he added.