U.S. Army Europe announced the winners of its soldier and noncommissioned officer of the year competitions Friday in Heidelberg, Germany.

Staff Sgt. Travis Snook, of the 7th Army NCO Academy, was named the winning sergeant, and Cpl. Mihai Mocanu, of 2nd Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, was the top soldier.

Both men competed Aug. 13-15 in Grafenwöhr, Germany. Events included two land navigation courses, a 15-kilometer foot march, day and night weapons qualifications, an Army Physical Fitness Test and a series of other combat tasks, according to the USAREUR public affairs office.

Snook, of Lewistown, Pa., was previously named the USAREUR separate units NCO of the year. An armor soldier by trade, Snook is currently serving as a small-group instructor at the 7th Army NCOA. The seven-year veteran has a wife, Melissa, a son, Chanze, and is interested in Army Combatives training and coaching youth soccer. “I’m an example of what a good NCO is supposed to be both in physical condition and in mental capacity,” Snook told USAREUR PAO.

Mocanu, who represented V Corps as its soldier of the year, previously served in the Romanian army. A native of Hirlau, Romania, Mocanu has served as an infantryman for a year and a half after spending six years as a Ponds Security contractor in Hohenfels, Germany.

The 1997 European martial arts champion has a wife, Monica, and daughter, Emily, and dreams of attending Army Ranger, airborne and air assault schools. Even if he had lost, Mocanu told USAREUR, he would not have been discouraged. “Maybe sometimes you lose a battle, but it doesn’t mean you’ve lost a war,” he said.

By winning, both men earned the right to represent USAREUR in the Department of the Army-level competition Oct. 1-5 at Fort Lee, Va.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now