Profile: Junior Officer competes to be the 'Best in Europe'
July 26, 2012
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany --- As the sweat dripped from his brow, his body coated in a fine layer of dirt and dust, 1st. Lt. Joshua Herrington stood exhausted from pushing his body to the limit. He caught his breath and waited for what was next.
Throughout the military there are many ways that one can prove they have what it takes to stand above the rest, to be a shining example of going above and beyond the normal call of duty.
Recently, the U.S. Army in Europe kicked off its 2012 Best Junior Officer Competition. The competition, which takes place at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany, tests participants in areas such a weapons qualification, physical fitness and scenario-based challenges to test their leadership instincts.
Herrington, a 24-year-old native of Colorado Springs, Colo., is a participant of the event. Recounting his childhood, he credits much of his success to his father.
"Growing up my father always believed in good discipline," he said of the 22 year veteran of the Air Force, "I always considered my dad a hero, out there protecting my family from who-knows-what."
"It was always 'yes sir' and 'no sir,'" Herrington said, "there were a couple of missed birthdays here and there, but I always knew what he was doing."
Herrington is one of 12 junior officers vying for the title in this year's USAREUR Best Junior Officer Competition.
The knowledge, skill-sets and leadership traits honed at the competition will help prepare the young leaders involved to excel when the time comes to lead Soldiers in a deployed environment.
Herrington attributes his upbringing as a reason for why he chose to be an officer and accredits that to his leadership methods today.
"I believe you are more able to help out the enlisted Soldiers under you," Herrington said, "You're more acceptable I believe, since I know where they are coming from. A little empathy is a good quality to have as a leader."
After just the first two days of grueling competition, Herrington is feeling the effects from the challenges few outside the military can empathize with. But he takes it in stride.
"I'm a bit sarcastic, I joke around a lot," he said, "to me, if you take things too seriously than you are going to hate life."
He'll need all the levity he can muster over the second half of the competition. The next two days of events will continue to push him and test his limits.