The 75th Ranger Regiment announced Friday its recipients for Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and the Col. Ralph Puckett Leadership Award.
Spc. Justin Hinton received the regiment’s Soldier of the Year Award while Staff Sgt. Kirk Woody took home the top NCO prize. Capt. Joel B. Groves was given the 2010 Col. Ralph Puckett Leadership Award. All three men serve with the Ranger Special Troops Battalion.
Hinton and Woody will travel to Fort Bragg, N.C., in June where they will compete in the U.S. Army Special Operations Command Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year competition. There they’ll be tested physically, mentally and technically.
To prepare for the upcoming challenge, Hinton said he’ll continue to study and practice skills such as marksmanship and nuclear and biological chemical response.
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The Col. Ralph Puckett Leadership Award was designed to both honor Puckett — considered one of the founders of the modern Rangers — and to recognize junior officers who have demonstrated “take charge leadership” in demanding circumstances where their personal actions have clearly made a difference in the outcome of events.
The Soldier and NCO of the Year Award is a standard competition that units throughout the Army conduct in order to select their best soldier and NCO based on performance, potential and professional knowledge.
In order to have the opportunity to compete for the Special Operations Command Soldier and NCO of the Year title, Hinton and Groves had to first win soldier and NCO of the quarter and then soldier and NCO of the year for Ranger Special Troops Battalion.
For winning soldier and NCO of the year, Hinton and Woody were given Colt .45 pistols, the Army Commendation Medal and a selection of gift certificates. For winning the Col. Ralph Puckett Leadership Award, Groves was given an Army Commendation Medal, a plaque and a selection of gift certificates.