FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 17, 2012
Sgt. 1st Class Chris A. Durney
Public Affairs Specialist
Arkansas National Guard
Best in Arkansas Guard named ~ Outstanding Airmen and Soldiers honored at ceremony
ROBINSON MANEUVER TRAINING CENTER, Ark. – The Arkansas National Guard announced the outstanding Airmen and Soldiers for 2012 at an awards ceremony here today, including the tops in the Army Guard’s Best Warrior competition.
Sgt. Matthew Howard of the 142nd Fires Brigade represents the best Noncommissioned Officer (E5 and above) for the year, and Spc. Joshua Glass of the 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team took Soldier (E4 and below) of the Year honors.
Senior Airman Leonardo Jacquez of the 123rd Intelligence Squadron was named the Airman of the Year, and Master Sgt. Daniel Anderson of the 189th Airlift Wing was chosen as the NCO of the Year for the Air Guard. Senior Master Sgt. Daniel Dinkins of the 189th took Air Guard Senior NCO of the Year honors. Master Sgt. Joshua Rich of the 188th Fighter Wing was named the First Sergeant of the Year, and Master Sgt. Stephen Walbe of the 188th was named Honor Guardsman of the Year.
On the Army side, Howard and Glass bested a field of four NCOs and three Soldiers during a week-long series of very tough events that included physical strength, shooting, navigating, warrior skills, combat lifesaving, water survival, hand-to-hand combat and facing a board of Command Sergeants Major.
Each major command in the Arkansas Army National Guard names one Soldier and one NCO to represent them in the competition. This year’s field included Howard and Glass along with Sgt. Johnathan Wagley of the 142nd, Spc. Michael Branch of the 87th Troop Command, Sgt. Larry Brand, Jr., of the 87th, Staff Sgt. Robert Farmer of the 39th and Staff Sgt. Christopher Mazander of Joint Force Headquarters.
The two winners move on to regional competition in May. The regional winners compete at the National Guard Bureau level, with the NGB Soldier and NCO of the Year competing for the active Army crown in October.
Each competitor was awarded an Army Achievement Medal along with gift certificates from the Arkansas National Guard Morale Welfare and Recreation fund. Howard and Glass were each awarded the Arkansas Distinguished Service Medal, and an additional MWR certificate.
The Air Guard winners each received the Arkansas Distinguished Service Medal, a Diamond Award and a Minuteman statue. They also received MWR gift certificates.
See photo at right
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The University of Arkansas Little Rock hosted a special Combat Water Survival Test for the competitors on Wednesday, March 14. Spc. Johnathan Wagley of the 142nd Fires Brigade swims with his weapon clear of the water. (photos by Sgt. 1st Class Chris A. Durney, Arkansas National Guard Public Affairs Office)
additional photos available - go to ArkansasNational Guard Facebook page