21st TSC produces yet another USAREUR soldier of year
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany — Something’s gotta be in the water at the 21st Theater Support Command.
For the third consecutive year, a 21st TSC soldier has been named the U.S. Army Europe’s soldier of the year.
Spc. John Emmett, a reservist and a single support system specialist with the 21st TSC Headquarters and Headquarters Company, earned 2006 USAREUR soldier of year honors last month at a ceremony in Heidelberg. Emmett competed for the title against three other USAREUR soldiers Aug. 6-10 in Grafenwöhr.
The thought that got Emmett through the physically and mentally exhausting competition was Jesus carrying the cross on the road to Cavalry.
“If Jesus could do that, I can absolutely do whatever is in front of me,” said the 20-year-old from Greenwood, Ind.
“If he could do that, then he can absolutely give me the strength to complete whatever I’m doing right now. Those words, that’s the thought that just circled and circled through my mind to keep me walking.”
Emmett follows in the footsteps of now-Sgt. James Halog, the 2005 USAREUR soldier of the year, and Spc. Megan R. Pitts, who won in 2004.
Halog, a private first class when he was selected as top USAREUR soldier in 2005, is a parachute rigger with the 5th Quartermaster Detachment in Kaiserslautern. Pitts, who is no longer in the Army, was an intelligence analyst with Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment 14th Transportation Battalion at the time.
“If you ask me if there is any system in place, I would tell you, ‘No,’ but if you ask me is there something special that we do to prepare our soldiers for the soldier and NCO of the year competitions, I’d have to say, ‘Yes,’ ” said recently retired Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Reid, formerly 21st TSC’s top enlisted leader.
“We identify good soldiers early and talk with them about the spirit of competition and wanting to be number one. When the soldiers get to the 21st TSC-level competition they know that losing is not an option.”
Reid had an influence on Halog’s now-trademark sign-off when Halog appeared in American Forces Network TV spots after taking the 2005 USAREUR soldier of the year title. Reid was known for saying “Hooah hooah” instead of the typical single “Hooah.”
During one of the takes for the spot, Halog ended by saying “Hooah hooah.” The phrase made it into the final version, and Halog has since become known as the “Hooah hooah” guy. The 21-year-old from Vallejo, Calif., has even received e-mails from troops downrange wondering about the atypical “hooah” in his spots. People would tease him for the phrase and making a safety commercial.
“It’s catchy,” Halog said. “They always make fun of me about safety, but hey at least they are thinking about safety. I told Specialist Emmett that when he makes his commercial spot, ‘You don’t have to say what I said, but you have to make up something catchy so the soldiers remember what you’re saying.’ ”
Emmett now moves onto the Department of the Army-level soldier of the year competition Oct. 1-6 in Fort Lee, Va.