General Odierno: So just to show you the difference between a young Soldier and an old Soldier, he has an Ipad or something equivalent up here. If I brought that and tried to use it, I would erase everything I was going to say. [Laughter]

But, first I want to welcome everybody here. It's a very important day. As I stand here, we have probably hundred people here. We probably should be in a stadium of about 100,000 people so they get an opportunity to see those who are willing to sacrifice for something bigger than themselves. Because really that is what this is about. But, you know, if we did that, they wouldn't like that because most Soldiers never want that attention. They just want to go on about doing their business every day. But that is really where we should be doing this and I wish that we were.

Sergeant Major Chandler thank you for being here and thank you for the work that you and all of your senior non-commissioned officers and sergeants major have done in putting this competition together and making it something that is realistic, not just a one-dimensional, but a multi-dimensional competition. And I think that says a lot about the two men who have won this award.

I want to welcome SFC Matthew Carpenter and his wife Leann. Ma'am, thank you for being here. I know that you support him in many different ways. Mr. and Mrs. Boyd, thank you for being here, I appreciate that so much. Specialist Thomas Boyd, congratulations to you as well. You mentioned that they came from the U.K. Well, the reason he is so good at his [foreign] language is that he had to first learn "American," which is probably the hardest language to learn coming from the U.K. [Laughter]

When I talk to everyone, I always talk about the "Strength of Our Army is Our Soldiers." And that's what makes us different than any other Service. We are about Soldiers. That's why competitions like this are important. They have performed incredibly over the time of the performance. But the bottom line is that they represent thousands of other Non-Commissioned Officers and Soldiers who could also do this. They just happened to be better this day or this week. But that's what makes us so good. The fact is that you have two Soldiers who come from probably different backgrounds and are doing very different things for our Army. One who is in Special Forces and has very specific capabilities that have been learned over years of training to do very different missions from direct contact to training indigenous forces. Then, we have a Cryptologic linguist who has an incredible capability to translate very important information in order for us to conduct operations around the world wherever it might be. But they both have other things first. They are Soldiers. And what they were tested on were on Soldier skills whether it be knowledge, thinking adaptively to solve problems, and being physically and mentally strong and tough. That's what they proved over the last three, four, five days of competition. That's who we are and that's what we expect. And, that's why I am so proud to be here because of what they represent: dedication and hard work.

You know one of the things last night, we gave the Marshall Award at AUSA to Coach Krzyzewski, and everyone knows who Coach Krzyzewski is. One of the things he said that resonated with me is that true winners are not afraid of failure. Failure is just a waypoint to a destination, and it is those who are able to take failure and use that to accomplish a mission that makes them great. Though I don't know for sure, but my guess is, that these two individuals somewhere along the line have not probably done everything they expected. They have probably failed at some point along the line, but they have learned from that and built themselves into better people by learning from that and making themselves achieve higher objectives. That's who we are as an Army.

Building individuals who continue to achieve, who continue to adapt, and who are able to then become part of something greater than themselves, an organization or a mission that allows them to really feel good about what they do. That is what drives them. It's about the greater good. It's about being involved with an organization that does something that they probably never thought they could ever achieve as individuals. That's what this competition is about. These two young men who have achieved something that I believe makes them better Soldiers, better people, and they will now take that and contribute to their own organization, to make those better organizations.

I am extremely proud of what you have both accomplished. I congratulate you for that. I congratulate the support that you have gotten from your families in doing this as it takes that in order to make you successful. So this is a great day to celebrate our Army, a great day to celebrate two Soldiers who represent who we are, what we are, and what we are about. Tomorrow they will go on to continue their missions, whatever they might be to help their organizations achieve excellence. So thank you for what you have done. Congratulations. We are incredibly proud of what you have done. I will just close like I always do.

The strength of our Nation is our Army, the strength of our Army is our Soldiers, the strength of our Soldiers is our Families, and that is what makes us Army Strong!

God bless all of you.