Fort Huachuca recognizes the "best of the best"
March 1, 2013
Fort Huachuca's Thunder Mountain Activity Centre
hosted a memorable evening dedicated to the outstanding
performance given by the 2012 "best of the best" during
the Annual Installation Awards Banquet on Jan. 22.
Showing support for the honored guests, more than
200 people attended the banquet. The formal attire, social
hour, fine dining, guest speeches, and awards presentation
set the tone for an evening filled with recognition
"This is a great opportunity to come together tonight
and quite frankly, celebrate some good stuff that is happening
on base. One of the things that makes us a strong
community are the volunteers that we have, members of
the community, and the members of our team here at Fort
Huachuca and tonight is our opportunity to recognize
them," said Col. Dan McFarland, Fort Huachuca garrison
Guest speaker of the evening, Major General Alan
Lynn, commanding general, United States Army Network
Enterprise Technology Command said, "The challenges
that our Army has faced in the recent years have
been met and conquered, not only through the courage
and determination of our Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and
Marines, but also through the dedication and professionalism
of our civilian workforce.
The Civilian of the Year award
was given to Kim Rinehart, Range
Operations Specialist, Electronic
Proving Ground. Rinehart, who
saved the US Army millions of
dollars by recycling EPG radars
thought to be at the end of their
lifecycle, said that he is humbled
for receiving this award.
"It was a team project. Everybody
helped but for some
reason, they [US Army] thought
that I should be the point," he
said. Rinehart has been at Fort
Huachuca for 17 years.
Jennifer Rickert received theMilitary Spouse of the Year award for her countless hours of
volunteer services and dedication to military spouses across
the post. Rickert explained that she was nominated by her
husband and the actual award came from Military Spouse
"It's an honor [to receive the award] but it's also humbling
because all that I do for the spouses has [been] taken
into affect. Just to be noticed that I am making differences
between the lives of spouses is amazing," Rickert
Instructor of the Year, Staff Sgt. Sony Merus, 35F Advance
Leaders Course Instructor NCO Academy, was
evaluated on three different occasions throughout the
year, placing him amongst the best of the best.
Merus said, "I feel great that I won this award. It literally
took a whole year to get to this point. I feel that a lot
of hard work has paid off."
The Fort Huachuca Marine of the Year was awarded
to Gunnery Sgt. Roger Hightower, Staff NCO in Charge,
Defense Strategic Debriefing Center, for his exemplary
service as an expert in Human Intelligence operations,
instruction and management.
Hightower was accompanied by his wife, daughter,
mother and father. He has been at Fort Huachuca for a
little over one year.
Air Force NCO of the Year, Staff Sgt. Michael Hamilton,
senior morse code instructor, 316th Training Squadron,
provided dedicated instruction that resulted in his
squadron receiving the Air Education and Training Command
Unit of the Year award for 2012.
"I feel good about receiving [Air Force NCO of the
Year] of course. You're winning a yearlong thing going
against peers. There are other people that are going up for
it and it's always good to be recognized above your other
peers. I just do my job. I work day in and day out. To me,
it's the same thing every day," Hamilton said.
The Army Reserve Recruiter of the Year award was
given to Sgt. 1st Class Gregory Bilbrey, Sierra Vista Recruiting
Station, but was not present to accept his award
due to a recent surgery and hospitalization.
Staff Sgt. Eduardo Garcia, Sierra Vista Recruiting Station,
was selected as the Army Active Duty Recruiter of
the Year, due to exceptional performance and zero issues
with the Soldiers that he recruited. He has been at the Sierra
Vista recruiting station for two years.
When asked how he felt about receiving this award,
Garcia stated that he was honored. "I have seen my predecessors
before me get [Army Active Duty Recruiter of
the Year] and it is pretty humbling," he said.
The Army Soldier of the Year had to complete an
Army physical fitness test, warrior tasks and drills, day
and night land-navigation, 12 mile road march, a weapons
qualification range, a written exam and essay, an
administrative board and a mystery event as part of the
Soldier of the Year, Sgt. Joshua Guzman, Raymond W.
Bliss Army Health Center said, "I feel very pleased. My
command, my NCO support channel, NCOs that I have
met before me, drill sergeants, everyone that has mentored
me taught me to be a great Soldier." During the
intense competition, Guzman was promoted from a specialist
to a sergeant.
Army "Best Warrior" NCO of the Year, Sgt. Mark
Crosby, Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center, received
his award for his professionalism and competence that set
the bar for all NCOs.
Crosby, who has been at Fort Huachuca for two-and-a
half years, said, "I feel great about winning this award. It
is something that I have worked really hard for. My unit
has really helped me out with leadership skills and how
to set the example for my Soldiers. I think that it is great."
Along with the nine individual awards, Colonel Roger
Sangvic, acting commander, US Army Intelligence Center
of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, and Command Sergeant
Major Todd Holiday, Military Intelligence Corps
command sergeant major, presented five unit retention
awards to the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, the
18th Military Police Detachment, the 62nd Army Band,
the Noncommissioned Officers Academy and the Headquarters
and Headquarters Company, USAICoE for meeting
100 percent of their fiscal 2012 retention objectives.
Along with the respect and admiration that the awardees
received, gift bags, donated by over 30 local supporters
and donors, were presented.
Closing out the ceremony, Sangvic recognized the entire
Fort Huachuca team, from both off post and on post, thanking
them individually with a round of applause.