ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- U.S. Army Spc. Kayla Riehl was recently selected as the Aberdeen Proving Ground Soldier of the Year.
A native of Colorado Springs, Colo., Riehl is a Petroleum Supply Specialist attached to the 20th Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and Explosives (CBRNE) Command's Headquarters and Headquarters Company where she is the unit armorer for the command.
Riehl was attending the Army's Basic Leadership Course when she learned she had been selected as the APG Soldier of the Year. "I was ecstatic," she said upon hearing the news. Her selection as Soldier of the Year was no surprise to her first line supervisor, Sgt. Henry Ramos, who first nominated Riehl to compete for Soldier of the Quarter in November 2017. "Her outstanding leadership skills, being responsible and reliable were only a few of the reasons why she was selected among her peers to represent HHC and the 20th CBRNE Command at the board," he said.
With a very busy schedule and little notice, Riehl prepared for the APG Soldier of the Year competition in April. "She demonstrated a tremendous level of knowledge in every subject," said Ramos who helped her prepare for the board. "She managed to impress board members with her level of confidence."
Riehl had one word for how she felt after she completed the Soldier of the Year board, "Relief." She was notified of her selection as Soldier of the Year during Armed Forces week in May.
Riehl graduated from Mesa Ridge High School in 2010 and briefly attended Adams State University in Alamosa, Colo. She began her military career in the Air Force, but went into the reserves so she could attend college full-time. However, she enlisted as an active duty Soldier in July 2015 so she could provide for her young son and daughter.
She continues to work on her degree while on active duty taking classes through American Military University. She plans to earn her doctorate in child psychology and wants to work with special needs children.
But for now, she is focused on her Army career. "I chose to be a fueler because, at the time I was trying to enlist, there weren't many options left. However, it wasn't about the job at the time, and I really wanted to just be a part of the Army."
Riehl says her goal is to retire as a sergeant major and wants to redirect the focus of her career. "Anything that will allow me to help with the development and training of Soldiers is what I want to do," she said.
"She is an outstanding hard core Soldier," according to Ramos. "Her dedication to duty and level of knowledge about her job makes her a key asset to our HHC family. Her motivation is always reflected every day at work. She has the right mentality and passion for her job and I am confident enough to say that one day she will be promoted to sergeant major."