Following four days of grueling competition, a Special Forces soldier from Fort Bragg won the Department of the Army NCO and Soldier of the Year title for 2012-2013.
Spc. Saral Shrestha, from Kathmandu, Nepal, is assigned to Group Service Support Company, Group Support Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, Army Special Forces Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.
The soldier's Military Occupation Specialty: 91D1O, Power Generation Equipment Repairer.
"When I heard my name I just looked at my wife and was surprised," Shrestha told the Fort Bragg Patch in an exclusive telephone interview on Monday afternoon.
Sergeant Major of the Army Ray Chandler oversaw the annual competition which pitted twenty-four of the Army’s finest Warriors, representing 12 commands from across the Army.
Described as the “Super Bowl” of Army competitions, the Best Warrior celebrated its eleventh anniversary this year from Oct. 15-18.
Warriors selected to compete for the prestigious titles have mastered a series of benchmarks throughout the year to qualify for the Army-wide, Best Warrior Competition. Warriors for Soldier of the Year included the ranks of private through specialist, and warriors for NCO of the Year included ranks corporal through sergeant first class. All Army active duty, National Guard and Reserve component Soldiers were eligible to compete.
The Warriors represented in the competition competed on behalf of these Army Commands: U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army Materiel Command, U.S. Army Medical Command, U.S. Army Pacific Command, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Installation Management Command, U.S. Army Reserve Command, U.S. Army National Guard, and the National Capitol Region.
During the competition, these elite competitors were tested for their Army aptitude, conquering urban warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams, and Warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today’s operating environment.
"The p.t. test was something I was prepared for, it's the best event for me to score the most points," said Shrestha. "The board was the most nerve wracking because you have to study everything, all the standards, doctrine and publications. When you go through the board it's hard to answer them on spot."
"The USASOC NCO of the year was also there, as were other were good friends and it's an honor to be with them and compete with them," said Shrestha. "I'm a product of Fort Bragg, and proud to represent my company and what they stand for."
In addition, Warriors stood before a selection board comprised of six senior sergeants major from across the Army. These boards, chaired by Sergeant Major of the Army Ray Chandler, evaluated competitor appearance, military bearing and knowledge of critical Army topics.
Competition winners were announced Monday, Oct. 22, during the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting, in Washington D.C.
The Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year will received prestigious honors and cash awards in recognition of their achievements and will represent the Army at special events throughout their 2012-2013 tenure.
Spc. Shrestha has been married to his spouse, Elisha Shrestha for two years and he plans to head to the Officer Candidate School, in Fort Benning, Ga. in January.