IMCOM-Europe names NCO, Soldier of the Year
May 28, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany - The 2008 Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year honorees for Installation Management Command-Europe have something in common: they are military policemen serving in Germany.
Staff Sgt. Edmund Whipple, U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart, and Spc. Marco Garced, USAG Garmisch, were named as the command's top NCO and Soldier during ceremonies held here May 28. The two now will represent IMCOM-Europe at the IMCOM worldwide competition scheduled for next month at Fort A.P. Hill, Va.
Noting that he was the oldest nominee at age 40, Whipple - a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart - said the other participants "kept me on my toes."
"Going up against the younger guys made me focus at Graf," said Whipple, referring to the three days of actual competition at USAG Grafenwoehr, Germany, earlier this month.
It was there that participants underwent a comprehensive evaluation of skills ranging from physical fitness to military knowledge, including land navigation exercises, weapons qualification and written exams.
Originally from Anderson, Ind., Whipple arrived at Stuttgart in November 2006, following a five-year assignment at Fort Campbell, Ky., that included two deployments to Iraq as a squad leader.
Saying he was "surprised to be named Soldier of the Year, Garced, a 21-year-old native of White Plains, N.Y., has served as an MP patrolman at Garmisch for three years - and also acts as the community officer for the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program.
To prepare for the worldwide event, Garced, an awardee of the Gold German Forces Badge for Weapons Proficiency, said he will need to begin become familiar with equipment "that I will be tested on Virginia but do not normally use on the job, unlike some of the other competitors."
Presiding over one of his last functions here before leaving to assume responsibility for IMCOM-Northeast, Russell Hall, director of IMCOM-Europe, told the nine Soldier-competitors and roughly 75 garrison commanders, command sergeants major and other attendees: "Whenever the U.S. military is called upon by our nation, you are the among the very first to answer - and that means for missions downrange or continuing to support those forces and families at home station. I am proud to have served alongside you all these years."