Pfc. Kevin March in Arghandab River Valley, Afghanistan
Pfc. Kevin March kneels atop a cliff overlooking the Arghandab River Valley to provide security for his squad as they climb up the cliff from the valley below in the Arghandab district, Afghanistan, Jan. 31, 2011. March is assigned to the 4th Infantr... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT CARSON, Colo. (Feb. 9, 2012) -- Even the most carefully considered and chosen words fail to capture the visceral reaction inspired by a great photograph, and such is certainly the case with the 2011 U.S. Army Photo of the Year taken by Sgt. Breanne Pye, a public affairs noncommissioned officer, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 1st Special Troops Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division.

A Soldier kneels, frozen in a moment of time, vigilantly surveying the terrain ahead of him, intent on identifying the shadowy threat that has plagued his entire deployment to Afghanistan. He holds his rifle in what appears to be a casual carry, but can be presented with deadly effect in a second's notice.

A mellow sun burdened by a hazy sky outlines his form with a soft golden glow, the accoutrements of his profession easy to pick out with their sharp edges and unnatural lines; helmet, weapon, and tactical vest. A small antenna pokes up from whatever structure he is kneeling upon; mute testimony to the reality of his time -- that help needs to be just a call away, no matter where he rests.

Pye's photo won out against 119 fantastic military photographs, selected from thousands of photos submitted by military photographers throughout the year.

Her photo entry earned almost twice as many votes as the runner-up. Facebook likes were used as votes.

Pye's dedication to the perfection of her professional craft was also demonstrated in her writing, as well as her photography, on every project assigned to her, making her an invaluable member of the "Raider" Brigade Public Affairs team, said Capt. Tanya Roman, public affairs officer, 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div.

"In the few weeks that I have been here, Sergeant Pye has already exceeded my expectations as a journalist, and raised the bar for her fellow journalists," Roman said. "I look forward to seeing her future work, and know that she will continue to surprise and impress me with each and every story."

Pye, a native of Verna, Utah, said she truly enjoyed every opportunity she has received to show the world what Soldiers are doing each and everyday, making the country a safe and secure place for their fellow Americans.

"Every time a Soldier dons his gear and steps up to protect his loved ones, it makes my dedication to spreading their story a little stronger," she said. "They sacrifice so much for their loved ones back home, and to bring less than my very best to what they do would be a disservice."

Pye's colleagues recognized her passion to telling the soldier's story as well.

"I have known Sergeant Pye for more than two years now, and deployed with her to Afghanistan," said Capt. Anna Lebo, chemical, biological, radiation and nuclear officer for the 1st BCT, 4th Inf. Div.

"She insisted on always taking the toughest stories for herself, as she always wanted to see the Soldiers and families receive the respect and attention they deserve," said Lebo. "No matter how hard her personal life was at any given time, her fellow Soldiers came first."

The pursuit of excellence in one's profession deserves recognition, and it is a pleasure to see that Pye received hers.

Related Links:

U.S. Army Twitter Human Interest News 2011 Year in Photos

U.S. Army photostream on Flickr

U.S. Army Public Affairs Specialist (46Q) career opportunities