ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - Sgt. Alicia Hight, the enlisted aide to the commanding general of the U.S. Army Sustainment Command, was recently named the Army's Enlisted Aide of the Year for 2008 and the Army's nominee for the Inter-Service Enlisted Aide of the Year competition. She competed against the top enlisted aides from the other services -- Air Force, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy.

In an award presentation at the USO's Salute to Military Chefs Nov. 18, Hight, of Denison, Texas, was recognized by Maj. Gen. Robert M. Radin, commanding general of ASC, as being indispensable and a first-class aide.

"Sgt. Hight is a quick learner and has displayed an impeccable work ethic with the highest integrity," said Radin. "She has proven her capabilities in all facets of her job."

Though she did not win the Nov. 18 competition, Hight didn't come away empty-handed. Silver sautAfA pans and $500 checks were among the prizes awarded to the competitors.

"Those pans were really awesome," said Hight. "They were engraved with the name, rank and info on the recipient. I thought they were the cutest and most fabulous things I ever saw. Forget the $500, I wanted the pan! I thought that was the neatest idea for a cook trophy."

Hight employs many skills as the enlisted aide for the general, including uniform maintenance, culinary arts and entertaining skills. The culinary and entertaining skills have proven invaluable to both the general and his wife, who frequently host high-level visitors in their home.

"I know the Army is focused on war fighting, but people forget that the Army is also involved in international relations and peacekeeping," said Hight, "and what better way to make a good impression than to have a great host like Maj. Gen. Radin and wonderful food."

"Her culinary skills have greatly enhanced these relationships by showing them we, as an Army and as the ASC, are not just good at our job," said Radin, "we are great."

Preparing the general's menu and ensuring he looks great are not the only tasks the Army's top enlisted aide tackles daily -- she also single-handedly managed Rock Island Arsenal's Quarters One, the 20,000 square-foot government quarters, second in size only to the White House. A daunting task, to say the least.

Taking it in stride is all part of the job, explained Hight.

"Multitasking due to unexpected schedule changes and a busy calendar are the greatest challenges," she said. "That's the hardest, just trying to get it all done."

When Hight isn't preparing another masterful mouthful for the general and his guests, she's volunteering in charity fund raisers and in a local parent-teachers association in Moline.

"It makes me happy to volunteer though I don't really have much time to do it," she said. "But, I squeeze it in whenever possible. Also, I try to do things involving children, that way my daughters can be present and I have that time with them also."