The 75th Ranger Regiment announced the winners of the NCO and Soldier of the Year Competition during a ceremony July 1 at the Ranger Memorial.
The 2011 NCO of the Year is Sgt. Christian Henry, a unit supply specialist, and the Soldier of the Year is Spc. Zachary Liermann, an Infantryman. Henry is assigned to the Regimental Special Troops Battalion on post and Liermann is assigned to 2nd Battalion at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The NCO and Soldier of the Year Competition is designed to select the Soldier and NCO who represents the best of the best, based on performance, potential and professional knowledge.
“Conducting these types of competitions keeps our Rangers competitive and represents their men,” said the regimental command sergeant major Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Merritt, the guest speaker for the ceremony. “We use these competitions to maintain our professionalism, tradition and legacy.”
Since October 2001, the regiment has continuously deployed for more than 3,500 days.
The Soldiers competed in Army Physical Fitness Test, M-4 qualification, stress shoot, common task testing, land navigation, a five mile run, combatives, leaders reaction course, urban orienteering, written exam, essay, and a board.
Each event had a points value assigned and the NCO and Soldier with the most points at the end of the competition earned the respective titles.
“The best part of the competition was the learning experience,” Henry said. “The leaders reaction course was a good tool to assess leaders on new situations that are not only stressful but physically and mentally challenging.”
For Liermann, the competition meant honoring his team leader, who died on March 16, 2010, as a result of wounds received three days earlier during a fierce direct-fire combat engagement in Farah Province, Afghanistan.
“I dedicated my performance to Sgt. Joel Clarkson and competed in his honor,” Liermann said. “I’m excited about representing Regiment at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command competition.”
Liermann took first place in the 2011 U.S. Army Special Operations Command Soldier of the Year Competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., and will compete in the All Army competition in the fall.