Soldier of the Year competition
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FORT GORDON, Ga., May 13, 2010 -- Staff Sgt. Travis Lanzendorfer, 106th Signal Brigade, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was named the 7th Signal Command (Theater) Noncommissioned Officer of the Year after a week of competition at Fort Gordon, April 24-29.

PFC Ethan Berry, 56th Signal Battalion, Fort Sam Houston, earned top honors as Soldier of the Year (SOY).

Both Soldiers received awards at the 7th Signal Command (Theater) Signal Ball April 29 at the Gordon Club. They will compete next at the 9th Signal Command (Army)/NETCOM SOY competition at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. in June.

"I would encourage others to compete," Lanzendorfer said. "It is a great event that builds camaraderie. Day one was a day of individual events but by the end of the week everything we did, we did as a team."

He is currently assigned as a training NCO.

"These boards are an excellent chance for Soldiers to challenge themselves and set themselves above their peers," Berry said. "It's also a great opportunity to get in some training that you don't always get the opportunity to do in Garrison."

He currently serves as a radio operator/maintainer.

"I watched as our Soldier of the Year candidates competed at the confidence course," said Brig. Gen. LaWarren V. Patterson, commanding general, 7th SC (T). "I was inspired to say the least by their camaraderie and their intensity."

Spending a week on the firing range, navigating through woods, maneuvering the confidence course and enduring the gas chamber while reciting the Soldiers' Creed, may not sound like fun to some people. However, for these seven Soldiers assigned to units in 7th SC (T), it was the culmination of years of training and experience that compelled them to compete in the SOY events.

Events included land navigation, rifle qualification, a physical fitness test, warrior skills testing, a written exam, a board before a sergeant's major panel, the confidence course and other events. The Soldiers competed previously at their home units to be selected to compete at the 7th SC (T) level.

"This competition and reminds me how lucky we are to have so many outstanding individuals to choose from for Soldier of the Year honors," said Patterson.

The other competitors were:

Sgt. Randy Ward, a human resource specialist at the 93rd Signal Brigade, Fort Eustis, Va., was stationed in Stuttgart and spent 15 months deployed to Iraq. "Being able to do all the warrior tasks that I have learned in the Army really helped develop me as a leader and will help me train other Soldiers to be their best," he said.

Spec. Wesley Beights, South Theater Network Operations and Security Center (S-TNOSC), Fort Gordon, is an Action Request Center NCO. "My family inspires me to give my all," he said.

Sgt. Teng Lin is a Tech Control Shift NCOIC at Fort Detrick, Md. He deployed to Iraq in 2004 and 2007. He has been in the Army for eight years and was stationed at Fort Jackson, S.C., Hunter Army Airfield, Ga. and Fort Lewis, Wash. "I am inspired by motivated Soldiers and dedicated NCOs and all the people who give their hearts in the job and mission," he said.

Sgt. Cary Eaglin is an action request center NCO at the S-TNOSC. He was deployed to Iraq in 2005 and 2007. He has been assigned to Camp Caroll, South Korea, and at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. His father, a former tanker, inspires him. "Fighters are not always the ones who do not fall; they are the ones who get back up no matter how many times they fall," he said.

Sgt. Christopher Kehres is stationed at Fort Huachuca Ariz. He is a computer network defense NCO. He was deployed to Iraq in 2009. He advises Soldiers to make good choices, do more than expected and keep your promises, as these are the keys to success.

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About 7th Signal Command (Theater) - 7th Signal Command (Theater), with headquarters at Fort Gordon, Ga., Provides and defends network capabilities and services for Army, Joint, Interagency and Multinational forces in the Western Hemisphere to enable operations and mission command. It provides information technology services that allow customers to connect and collaborate with email, telephones, video teleconferencing, cell phones, Blackberries and web access. The team includes the 21st Signal Brigade, Fort Detrick, Md.; 93rd Signal Brigade, Fort Eustis, Va.; 106th Signal Brigade, Fort Sam Houston, Tx.; and, 37 Network Enterprise Center across the United States. 7th Signal Command - One Team, One Network!