GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (Nov. 18, 2011) -- Capt. Troy Peterson was named U.S. Army Europe's top junior officer during a ceremony in Germany today following a week-long competition.

Peterson, squadron logistics officer for 2nd Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment, competed with other junior officers from across Europe. The competition included pistol and rifle qualifications, two marches totaling 25 kilometers, a land navigation course conducted both in day and night, as well as several situational training exercises.

Experiences in Afghanistan honed and sharpened his combat arms skills, Peterson said.

"I was able to fall back on those even though I hadn't been able to practice them a whole lot recently in my later jobs," he said. "Those skills served me really well in the situational training lanes and some of the really infantry parts of the competition."

USAREUR Commanding General Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling has big plans for the competition in the future. "I am exceedingly proud of all of you," he said. "Next year, I'm going to ask some of you to help run it, and you're going to see that it is going to expand in size and scope."

Next year USAREUR's Best Junior Officer Competition will become part of the USAREUR Soldier of the Year and NCO of the Year Competitions, Hertling said.

Peterson received an Army Commendation Medal, a trophy and a prize package that included a $100 U.S. Savings Bond, a three-year membership to the Association of the United States Army, courtesy of the European Department, a $250 Army and Air Force Exchange gift card, also provided by the AUSA; a $250 eyewear package from Revision Eyewear and a two-night stay at the Edelweiss Lodge and Resort.

Peterson is also invited to share dinner with Lt. Gen. and Mrs. Hertling; Dr. Joseph W. Westphal, undersecretary of the Army; and New York Yankees Center Fielder Nick Swisher.