US Army Europe names top Soldiers for 2014 following weeklong competition

Sept. 19, 2014

By Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs


U.S. Army Europe Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr. (right) and Col. Michael L. Foster, commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade (left) pose with the winners of the 2014 USAREUR Best Warrior and Best Junior Officer Competitions at an award ceremony in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Sept. 19. The winners are, from second from left to right: 1st Lt. Michael Theising of 21st Theater Sustainment Command, named Best Junior Officer; Sgt. Nicholis Couture of the 173rd, named Best Warrior NCO of the Year; and Pfc. Nicholas Hanson of the 173rd, named Best Warrior Soldier of the Year. (Photo by Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs)

U.S. Army Europe Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr. (right) and Col. Michael L. Foster, commander of the 173rd Airborne Brigade (left) pose with the winners of the 2014 USAREUR Best Warrior and Best Junior Officer Competitions at an award ceremony in Grafenwoehr, Germany, Sept. 19. The winners are, from second from left to right: 1st Lt. Michael Theising of 21st Theater Sustainment Command, named Best Junior Officer; Sgt. Nicholis Couture of the 173rd, named Best Warrior NCO of the Year; and Pfc. Nicholas Hanson of the 173rd, named Best Warrior Soldier of the Year. (Photo by Sgt. Daniel Cole, U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs)

GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Two Soldiers from the 173rd Airborne Brigade and a lieutenant from 21st Theater Sustainment Command were named the best in U.S. Army Europe for 2014 at conclusion of the weeklong Best Warrior Competition and Best Junior Officer Competition events here, Sept. 19.

Pfc. Nicholas Hanson of the 173rd’s 4th Battalion, 319th Airborne Field Artillery Regiment, earned the title of Best Warrior Soldier of the Year as USAREUR’s top junior enlisted Soldier.

Another 173rd Soldier, Sgt. Nicholis Couture of Chosen Company, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, was named Best Warrior NCO of the Year.

First Lt. Michael Theising., an engineer plans officer with the 15th Engineer Battalion, 21st Theater Sustainment Command, earned the Best Junior Officer title.

“While, as in any competition, you know there can be only one winner in each category, I would like you all to know you are Europe’s examples of fit, disciplined and well-trained professionals,” said Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr., USAREUR senior enlisted advisor, before announcing the winners alongside Col. Michael L. Foster, commander of the 173rd.

“The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming,” Foster said, quoting Teddy Roosevelt’s famous ‘Man in the Arena’ speech.

The winners all said they are honored to earn the top titles, but that the credit for that honor belongs not only to them, but to the colleagues, family members, friends and others who supported them and helped prepare them for the competition.

“I am really glad that I got to support and represent the 173rd in this competition and I can’t wait to represent USAREUR next,” Hanson said. “It is an honor to be able to represent my brigade in a competition at a level like this,” Couture said, who also credited his own hard work and dedication and the support of his wife and fellow unit NCOs.

“It was great to come out here and represent all of those people [in my unit]”, Theising said. “On top of that, it was a grueling competition and I think it a testament to my team -- Sgt. Stipp and Spc. Simo -- that I was able to win, because this was not an individual competition. It was a group competition, and they are outstanding Soldiers.”

In addition to their titles, each winner received an Army Commendation Medal, Davenport’s personalized coin, a round-trip ticket to the continental United States and other items from supporting sponsors.

While units throughout the Army conduct competitions each year to select their best Soldier and NCO, the Best Junior Officer Competition is unique to USAREUR, and highlights the best lieutenants and captains from units across Europe.

The Sept. 14-19 competition tested 31 Soldiers on a variety of events that challenged their knowledge, physical and battlefield skills in hands-on and situational testing and oral and written examinations.

Those events included a day and night land navigation exercise, an obstacle course, a physical fitness test, a hand-to-hand combat tournament, a battlefield medical scenario and other physical activities. Soldiers and officers also participated in a simulated media interview, wrote an essay, took a written examination, and demonstrated their military knowledge and bearing for a board of sergeants major and officers.

“I think you will agree with me that this was not an easy competition,” Davenport said. “It was a very grueling -- both physically and mentally -- series of events. I am proud to report that these Soldiers and family members of the competitors gave it their all.”

Couture and Hanson will represent USAREUR at the Department of the Army-level competition, Oct. 6-10 at Fort Lee, Va.


About us: U.S. Army Europe is uniquely positioned to advance American strategic interests across Eurasia and has unparalleled capability to prevent conflict, shape the environment and, if necessary, win decisively. The relationships we build during more than 1000 theater security cooperation events in more than 40 countries each year lead directly to support for multinational contingency operations around the world, strengthen regional partnerships, and enhance global security.