By Mr. Eric Kowal (RDECOM)June 29, 2009
PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. - As grueling as riding 210 miles on a bicycle in one day sounds one Picatinny Soldier did just that recently. In fact, Paul Wilcock did it in less than one day - between sun up and sun down.
The Army first sergeant\'s bike journey was part of an event called the Longest Day Ride, which consists of cycling from Port Jervis, N.Y., to the southern-most tip of New Jersey in Cape May.
While the event is usually held on the longest day of the year, June 21, this year the event was held June 13, despite the rain and cloud cover. The event is organized each year by the Central Jersey Bike Club. Wilcock, who said he has no prior training or long-distance experience, said he joined the club just to participate in the ride.
Several hundred cyclists competed in the event and, although he does not know where he placed in the event, Wilcock, 40, said he was happy just to have completed the ride and prove to himself that he is still young at heart.
If you are not very impressed with Wilcock by now, you might be when you find out he is stationed here as part of the Wounded Warrior Program.
The Army stationed Wilcock and his family here after his second tour in Iraq, because, while his injuries were not life threatening, they were severe enough, Wilcock needed to recover.
That's where Picatinny's program for wounded warriors came into the picture. The program, which is part of the greater Wounded Warrior Transition support effort -allows wounded service members to continue to wear their uniforms while bringing them closer to their families while they recover.
Although Wilcock has spent over two decades in the Army, he has been at Picatinny Arsenal only a few months. But in the short time he has been here, Wilcock has shown why he has had a successful Army career.
After 2009 was declared the Year of the Noncommissioned Officer, Wilcock stepped in to help ensure Picatinny's year-long tribute to the NCO corps was a success.
Not only did he organize more than 75 Soldiers from throughout New Jersey to participate in an NCO induction ceremony in which each noncommissioned officer was welcomed into the elite corps, but he also promoted the Year of the NCO by branding his riding attire during the Longest Day event. To do this, Wilcock got a sponsor to provide him with a custom jersey that had the Department of the Army logo and "Year of the NCO" on the back and the U.S. Army logo and "Picatinny Arsenal" on the front.
Although Wilcock was first assigned to the Warfighter Central Division of the Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, he now serves as the senior noncommissioned officer here working for Picatinny Garrison until the arsenal receives its new garrison command sergeant major.
Wilcock has proven so useful in helping Picatinny and the Army that, although he recently received confirmation his wounds have healed and he can return to his reserve assignment, his unit will allow him to serve an additional year working at the Project Manager for Soldier Weapons office here.
While it is not known how long Wilcock will ultimately be assigned here, it is likely he will continue to bring recognition to the NCO corps beyond 2009. For example, Wilcock will represent Picatinny NCOs at the 2009 Army Ten-Miler Oct. 4 followed by the New York City marathon in November.
Then, who knows what's next'