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NEWS | Oct. 4, 2016

EOD specialist, Reserve Drill Sgt. earn Soldier, NCO of Year

By David Vergun Defense Media Activity - Army

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- Winners of the Best Warrior competition are: Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Moeller, named NCO of the Year; and Spc. Robert Miller, named Soldier of the Year.

The winners were announced Oct. 3 during the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Almost immediately following the announcement, the two Soldiers commented on the win and what it means to be a Soldier and a Best Warrior.

SFC MOELLER

All 20 of the competitors -- including 10 NCOs and 10 Soldiers -- representing 10 major Army commands, immediately bonded, Moeller said.

Moeller, who is a Reserve senior drill instructor, compared that bonding to the drill sergeants' "tightknit community."

Regarding the competition, he said the most grueling was the 12-mile road march. "I'm a scout and I'm used to road marches, but this one was the toughest."

The road march, he said, included many changes in elevation, pitch black night and pouring rain.

He said the second toughest was the day and night land navigation course, which was through dense brush and swamps.

Moeller's advice to all Soldiers:

"Put forth your best effort. Even if you think it's not great, don't ever stop striving for the best you can do. It won't necessarily culminate in awards like this, but you're going to be rewarded. If we're chasing excellence every day, it's going to benefit the Army and America as a whole."

Moeller's girlfriend, Lisa Cho, flew here from Southern California and was on hand to share in Moeller's achievement. It was an "unexpected surprise," she said.

SPC MILLER

Best Warrior was "the healthiest competition I've been a part of," said Miller. "Everyone was looking to their left and right. Never was there any hostility between competitors. That's rare to find with a group of 20 tip-of-the-spear males. We all were right next to each other the whole time, rooting each other on. That was really cool for me."

Miller didn't have anyone accompany him, but as soon as the competition was over, he was taking a call from his mom. "She's been one of my biggest cheerleaders." 

He said he also had support from the rest of his family as well as the EOD community, which he called a "close brotherhood."

The specialist said his "phone has been blowing up with people texting me like crazy and congratulating me and loving me. It's been awesome."

Washington, D.C. was the perfect culmination of Best Warrior, he said. "Yesterday I got to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights. You realize the sacrifice others have made."

Miller added a message for Soldiers everywhere and his unit in particular: "Never settle for anything less than your best effort. Keep pushing your boundaries. You'll never regret it."

MESSAGES FROM LEADERS

Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel Allyn and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey spoke during the Best Warrior ceremony. 

Allyn said the competitors "represent what it means to be a trained and ready trusted professional."

Dailey said the Best Warrior competition "is about readiness. The competitors were using skills needed to survive on the battlefield to fight and win our nation's wars."

He added: "Maybe you can be a Best Warrior. You can't though, unless you try."

MORE ABOUT THE WINNERS

Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Moeller is an Army Reserve cavalry scout now serving with the 108th Training Command in San Diego. He has been in the Army for 16 years and has deployed to Afghanistan and twice to Iraq.

He was born in Northridge, California, but calls nearby Riverside his hometown. He is looking to complete his bachelor's degree in engineering management and then wants to earn a master's degree in project management.

Spc. Robert Miller is an explosive ordnance disposal specialist with the 8th Military Police Brigade at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He has been in the Army nearly four years and has deployed to Kuwait. 

Miller was born in Clarksville, Tennessee. He wants to complete his bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

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