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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2020

Fort Eustis selects NCO, Soldier of the Year

By Beverly Joyner 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs

Following a tough competition, two U.S. Army Soldiers were selected for the 2020 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Soldier of the Year awards during a ceremony at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, July 29.

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Center for Initial Military Training leaders introduced the winners as Staff Sgt. Allen Hennaman, Fort Eustis NCO of the Year, and Specialist Heaith Howe, Fort Eustis Soldier of the Year.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions aimed at reducing transmission of the virus, several competition events were staggered and held at the unit-level while others took place virtually, according to Sgt. 1st Class Earnest Knight, TRADOC CIMT’s 2019 Drill Sergeant of the Year.

“The competition was conducted in the span of a few days and the last two days’ events featured a virtual formal board along with the 100-question exam,” said Knight. “Due to social distancing requirements, it was not a collective effort where competitors were all doing the same events at the same time.”

After dropping out of last year’s events due to an injury, Hennaman, an NCO Academy Advanced Leader Course small group leader for the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence, described the 2020 competition as unfinished business.

“I pretty much decided I was going to do everything I could to come back and compete this year. That’s kind of what kept me driving through it to do my best for all of the events,” said Hennaman. “I felt prepared for most of it, and I knew I was going to do the best that I could do to see where I stacked up against my competition and how well they did on the events.”

Other tasks held during the competition included the Army Combat Fitness Test, 12-mile foot march, land navigation course and weapons system qualification.

Howe, a radiology specialist with McDonald Army Health Center, said he was glad to be able to make it this far and he is looking forward to what’s next.

“Things were done a little different because of COVID [19], but overall, I was given a plan by my leadership and did my best to execute,” explained Howe. “I am definitely excited for what’s to come. I’m not sure what to expect, but I know my leadership will give me the information I need to be successful.”

Hennaman and Howe will represent Fort Eustis at TRADOC’s Best Warrior Competition at the installation in August.