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The Installation Management Agency-Europe has named its soldier and noncommissioned officer of the year, following a competition last weekend in Stuttgart, Germany.

Sgt. Lawrence Born of Vicenza, Italy, and the 22nd Area Support Group is NCO of the year. Spc. Jose A. Pazmino of Darmstadt, Germany, and the 26th Area Support Group is soldier of the year.

The two will next compete at the 2005 IMA Headquarters NCO and Soldier of the Year Selection Board in Fort Pickett, Va., from July 27 to Aug. 2.

Born, the NCO for the 22nd ASG chaplain’s office, has been based in Vicenza for 18 months. He’s been on active duty for five years following a five-year stint in the Army Reserve.

The 35-year-old from Indianapolis credited his award to “support from my family and great preparation by my first sergeant.”

Born studied law before deciding to join the military and said he’s in his current job because he likes helping soldiers.

Pazmino, 19, said it took a lot of hard work to earn his title. He said since joining the Army less than two years ago from his hometown of Mountain View, Calif., he has excelled in physical fitness and general soldier knowledge, but had to work harder in more advanced training, like land navigation.

Now, in order to beat out the competition in July, Pazmino said he’s working with his NCO in charge, Master Sgt. Roy Rocco, the detachment sergeant for the 233rd Base Support Battalion.

“I’m just stepping it up. I’m going to study twice as much and train twice as much,” the personnel actions clerk for the 233rd BSB said in an interview Thursday.

Born and Pazmino were judged by a panel of senior NCOs on general military knowledge, appearance and military bearing in a board. Then the troops went on to contend in a multi-event competition, including a physical fitness test, night and day land navigation, weapon qualification, common task training and a written test.

A victory at the IMA worldwide level would pit them against the top soldiers from all Army commands.

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Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
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