Heidelberg soldier to vie for Army-wide title
Stars and Stripes August 9, 2009
HEIDELBERG, Germany — Sgt. Jason Boatwright, of Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Garrison Heidelberg, has won Installation Management Command’s worldwide Soldier of the Year competition.
Boatwright, 29, who was named IMCOM-Europe’s top soldier in May, will now compete against all other Army command winners in the Army Soldier of the Year competition, known as the Warrior Challenge.
The competition kicks off at Fort Lee, Va., on Sept. 28.
"The competition is going to be a lot harder," Boatwright said. "It is pretty intense. Everybody’s got their game face on."
Boatwright, of Madera, Calif., said he expects the Warrior Challenge to test his knowledge of regulations, his ability to react to combat scenarios and his abilities to handle weapons. The hands-on tests are the difficult part, he said.
"It takes a lot of dedication. You have to get up every day and want it," said Sgt. 1st Class David Green, Boatwright’s coach.
Green, who is a former U.S. Southern Command Soldier of the Year, said Boatwright excels in the oral exam boards and is a quick study when it comes to learning new things for the challenge.
The weapons portion of the competition presents the biggest challenge, because, as a chaplain’s assistant, Boatwright doesn’t normally handle M-4 and .50-caliber machine guns.
One plus that Boatwright has going for him is his maturity because he is older than a lot of the other soldiers of the year he faces, Green said.
Boatwright’s accomplishments have gotten him noticed and have made him stand out in the U.S. Army Garrison Baden-Württemberg’s ranks, said Command Sgt. Maj. Annette Weber, the garrison’s top noncommissioned officer.
"This soldier is driven and this soldier is motivated," she said about Boatwright.