By Staff Sgt. Joel Salgado U.S. Army EuropeJune 5, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany -- This year's Engineer Soldier of the Year for the active Army is a sergeant who earned the award for his service with U.S. Army Europe.
Sgt. Adam Day was Engineer Soldier of the Year for the active Army by the Corps of Engineers for his achievements while deployed to Afghanistan with USAREUR's 9th Engineer Battalion, 172nd Infantry Brigade. The award was announced at the Army's Engineer Center at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., in mid-April.
Day, a Richmond, Va., native, was nominated for the award by his unit leadership. Known as the Van Autreve award, the honor is named for the late Sgt. Maj. Leon Van Autreve, a longtime engineer Soldier who served as the fourth Sergeant Major of the Army.
"Sgt. Day was an easy choice to represent our organization at the Army level as the Van Autreve candidate," said 1st Sgt. Aaron Beckman, Day's platoon sergeant during the deployment. "Sgt. Day possesses qualities not many other Soldiers have both on and off the battle field."
Beckman knows what it takes to be a top Soldier. In 2009, while assigned to USAREUR's 7th Army NCO Academy, he earned the USAREUR and U.S. Army NCO of the Year titles.
While deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Day's unit was assigned to Combat Outpost Curry, a remote base in Southern Paktika Province. Beckman described duty at the base as rigorous, with cramped and unpleasant conditions; conditions that Day improved during his combat tour there.
Prior to joining the Army, Day worked as a carpenter, building office and home furniture. Day used his knowledge of carpentry to plan and construct more than 30 projects on the base during his deployment, ranging from maintenance and dining areas to morale, welfare and recreation facilities for his fellow Soldiers.
"His past experience in carpentry provided the capability for countless projects to enhance security and quality of life," said 1st Lt. Raymond Vetter, Day's platoon leader during the deployment. "Because of our remote location at COP Curry, we lacked much of the infrastructure afforded to larger locations. Sgt. Day was the main reason Bravo Company was able to bridge that gap."
Day also used his skills in constructing defensive works to design and build several improvements to the outpost's security. At the same time he trained continually on engineer and Soldier tasks of identifying and destroying roadside bombs and small unit tactics, helped train the unit's Afghan National Security Force partners, and took part in joint security patrols throughout Afghanistan's Gomal District.
"His ability to be a full-spectrum engineer and fight as infantry was proven day in and day out," Beckman said. "There is no other Soldier or NCO that I would rather have served with, or have greater pleasure serving with again. The thing that brings me the greatest joy in this is that this Soldier is one of the ones that will get the job done, take care of Soldiers and their Families and never ask for something in return."
While Day earned the Van Autreve for service with a USAREUR unit, he departed Europe prior to the award announcement to attend airborne training. He is currently assigned at Fort Bragg, N.C.