OKINAWA, Japan - 1st Battalion, 1st Air Defense Artillery (Regiment) crowned its noncommissioned officer and Soldier of the Year during the unit's Warrior Challenge Competition April 15th - 17th on Okinawa, Japan.
1/1 ADA held boards throughout the year and four aoldiers, two non-commissioned officers and two junior enlisted, survived for this week's event to be named the "Snake Eye's" best NCO and Soldier of the Year.
1/1 ADA Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick A. Kutac, said the challenge speaks volumes about the soldiers who made it to the final competition.
"This represents the best we have from about 600 enlisted soldiers throughout the battalion and these four are 'the best of the best.'" explained Kutac.
Kutac added despite the battalion's high operational tempo the competitors worked tirelessly to study and prepare themselves for such a high honor.
The three-day event included urban warfare orienteering, day and night land navigation, weapons qualification with reflexive firing, a physical fitness test and a board. It proved to test each soldier's mental and physical stability and endurance during the competition.
Each competitor expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to participate. For Spc. Patrick Longo, an enhanced early warning systems operator for Bravo Battery, 1/1 ADA BN, it was extra special because he never thought he would be at such a prestigious event early in his military career. Longo, a Bronx, N.Y. native, enlisted into the Army more than a year ago.
"I always wanted to do good things during my career but I never thought it would be this soon." explained Longo. "I've learned a lot during the event and to have this opportunity to be named the best is a great honor." said Longo.
In the end only two soldiers nabbed top honors. Staff Sgt. Roger K . Euller, a patriot launching station enhance operator assigned to Charlie Battery, 1/1 ADA, was named the NCO of the Year and Longo was selected Soldier of the Year.
Staff Sgt. Euller will move forward to compete for the United States Army Japan Soldier of the Year Competition and if he prevails will represent USARJ at the United States Army Pacific competition June 10 - 15 in Hawaii.