USAACE recognizes NCO, Soldier of the year
Soldier of the year Sgt. Daniel Wilker and NCO of the year Sgt. Tricia M. Schindler were recognized August 23 for their hard work after many months of competitions and boards.

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (August 25, 2011) -- Officials from the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence honored the 2011 noncommissioned officer and Soldier of the year in a ceremony August 23 at the U.S. Army Aviation Museum.

Sgt. Daniel Wilker, working dog handler with the 6th Military Police Detachment, earned Soldier of the year honors. Sgt. Tricia M. Schindler, an air traffic controller with the 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment, earned NCO of the year honors.

Command Sgt Maj. John L. Chandler, 110th Aviation Brigade, spoke and presented both honorees with Army Commendation Medals at the ceremony.

In front of fellow Soldiers, Family and civilians, Chandler applauded the efforts of both Wilker and Schindler.

"You accepted a challenge and have conquered it. You deserve to feel proud of this accomplishment. This is a great personal and professional accomplishment, validating that you're being all you can be," he said.

In order to be named Soldier and NCO of the year, Wilker and Schindler competed in many events, including physical fitness training, warrior tasks, battle skills and board interviews.

Wilker, who hopes that his success will continue by earning master fitness trainer certification, explained that the process of boards and training that lead to the honor were worth the occasional struggle.

"I'm very excited. I prepared myself mentally and physically. It gets a little nerve-wracking, but it's very rewarding," said Wilker, who has since attained NCO status upon being named Soldier of the year. "As soon as I started seeing the rewards and accomplishments, I really wanted to push myself to see how far I could get."

Schindler also reflected on the process, which took almost seven months of training and exceptional performance. From the months of hard work, Schindler has become even more determined to not only advance her own career, but motivate others to advance.

"Hooah describes it all," said Schindler before receiving her honors. "I would tell anyone who could do this, to do it."

Schindler said the experience was rewarding and gives her the opportunity to show other Soldiers the importance of determination.

"I'm happy and motivated. I'm ready for whatever is to come. Push yourself to your limits, because you never know what those limits are until you pass them," said Schindler, who learned that "there really are no limits."

Both Wilker and Schindler hope to have continued success in their Army careers. Wilker wants to achieve the highest rank possible, as well as obtain a bachelor's degree in sports medicine. Schindler hopes to finish her bachelor's degree, attend drill sergeant school and be the first Aviation NCO to advance to Sergeant Major of the Army.

During his speech recognizing both Soldiers, Chandler expressed the importance of servant leadership to the honorees, stating that their titles brought responsibility in addition to the many gifts and honors presented during the ceremony.

"Now, you are the face of all who are in this command. NCOs and Soldiers will be looking up to you for guidance and encouragement. Share the experience by letting those around you know that they can achieve whatever they put their energy into," said Chandler.

Chandler concluded the ceremony with advice for both honorees and the crowd.

"We must always take a look at ourselves and make sure we are striving to be all that we can be," he said.

Page last updated Thu August 25th, 2011 at 09:11