USAREUR names top Soldier, NCO for 2009

Story and photos by Sgt. Daniel J. Nichols
U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

HEIDELBERG, Germany — A military police Soldier from U.S. Army Europe’s 21st Theater Sustainment Command and a senior non-commissioned officer from the Joint Multinational Training Command were named the 2009 USAREUR and Seventh Army Soldier of the Year and NCO of the Year Aug. 27 in a ceremony here.

Spc. Daniel Micek, of the 18th Military Police Brigade, is the 2009 USAREUR Soldier of the Year and Sgt. 1st Class Aaron Beckman, of the 7th Army NCO Academy, is the 2009 USAREUR NCO of the Year.

“I told (the competitors) when this thing started that you’re going to be tried, and you’re going to be tested, and it will probably be one of the hardest things you ever do at this point in your military career,” said USAREUR Command Sgt. Maj. Ralph Beam during the ceremony.

Sergeant Beckman and Specialist Micek will go on to represent USAREUR in the Army’s Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee, Va., in September, where they will compete with winners from the Army’s major commands.

Command Sergeant Major Beam said a few months ago Gen. Carter Ham, USAREUR’s commanding general, told him to spare no effort or expense in finding USAREUR’s top warriors.

“We’re going to pick our warrior. We’re going to pick our champion that is going to go forth and represent us at DA,” General Ham said.

The result was the competition at the Grafenwöhr, Germany, training area where Specialist Micek and Sergeant Beckman earned their titles earlier this month. The competition put 11 USAREUR Soldiers’ physical, mental and warrior skills to the test over four grueling days of nearly non-stop challenges.

The competition, held Aug. 9 to 13, was designed to tax each contender’s stamina and capabilities as well as prepare the winners for the Army-level competition, said Sgt. Maj. Michael Kennedy, of JMTC’s operations division, who designed many of the tasks for event.

“The competitor that we’re looking for to send to the Army level is the one that is very good at dealing with fatigue – physical and mental,” Sergeant Major Kennedy
said during the competition. “The Soldier that can operate on minimum amounts of rest and information for long periods of time and still remember to do the little things even when they’re tired, sore and not real happy about the situation they’re in.”

While at times they might have found it hard to work up some enthusiasm during the competition, the winners said they’re honored to earn their titles and excited to move on to the next level.

“This is a tremendous honor right now,” Specialist Micek said. “Not many people dream of it. Some people think they can do it, but like the sergeant major told us, we actually did it. And this is a huge honor, meeting everybody that competed … and an honor to represent USAREUR.”

“I’m really excited to represent all the fine NCOs and Soldiers from the JMTC and from USAREUR,” Sergeant Beckman added. “I’m just hoping I can continue to drive forward and represent well when I get to Fort Lee.”

He said his plans are to “train, train, train” between now and then, including preparing with Specialist Micek, a fellow Grafenwöhr resident.

“I’ll give all I’ve got for that one,” Specialist Micek said. “There’s nothing after that, so there’s nothing to hold back.”

A full story about the competition can be found at