By Mr Roger Teel (RDECOM)July 18, 2011
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- A former infantry Soldier now assigned to the U.S. Army Research Laboratory will represent the Army Materiel Command at the 2011 Army Soldier of the Year Competition.
Spc. Bernard Quackenbush, a 23-year-old avionics and survivability repair technician at White Sands Missile Range, N.M., was named AMC Soldier of the Year July 15.
After enlisting in 2007, Quackenbush deployed to Iraq with 1st Battalion, 25th Stryker Brigade from Fort Wainwright, Alaska, his first duty station. He reclassified into his current job specialty after returning from deployment.
His current supervisor, Staff Sgt. Randall Huff, said Quackenbush’s infantry background helped him immensely during the competition.
"Not that avionics Soldiers aren’t great Soldiers, but we don't do common Soldier tasks on a regular basis," Huff said.
"The big thing about Quackenbush is he never complains. If he’s hurt you'll never know it. He always has great attitude and is motivated," Huff added.
Married with a 2-year-old daughter, Quackenbush is pursuing an online degree in information technology.
"He and his wife, Shannon, and daughter, Alli, are very close -- a great Army Family," Huff said.
A sturdy 6-foot, 5-inch Soldier from Michigan's Shelby Township, just north of Detroit, Quackenbush was a strong performer in all areas of the competition.
"He’s always where he's supposed to be, doing what he's supposed to be doing," Huff said. “He’s my only Soldier, and I’d like to have five or six more like him.
"It's good to have Soldiers like him in the Army. With all the deployments we have, some Soldiers get attitudes and burn out. But he hasn't -- he’s my go-to guy."
What did Quackenbush think of his performance?
"He knew he did well," said Huff, who traveled with Quackenbush and witnessed the competition. "When the winners were announced he was smiling from ear to ear. It was awesome!"
Words of praise came from throughout the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command.
"Congratulations on this significant accomplishment and [for] representing RDECOM in the utmost professional manner," said Command Sgt. Maj. Hector Marin, the command's senior enlisted adviser. "Now we need to prepare you for the Army competition."
"Take a moment and pat yourself on the back and thank your family -- this is a great success and you should be very proud," said Col. Kirk Benson, RDECOM chief of staff.