News: Community honors Arrowhead Soldier/NCO of the Year
Story by Staff Sgt. Justin A. Naylor
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Between the rip roar of fans, the blaring sound of announcers, and the “ping” of baseballs striking bats, two Soldiers were recognized for their exceptional performance during the recent I Corps Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year competitions.
The Association of the United States Army Captain Meriwether Lewis Lacey Subchapter honored Staff Sgt. Peter Kacapyr and Pfc. Nicholas Jackson, both with 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, “Arrowhead,” 7th Infantry Division, during a Tacoma Rainiers baseball game Aug. 11.
AUSA awarded the Soldiers with plaques as well as gift bags filled with items donated from the local community.
In addition to the awardees, nearly 50 Soldiers from their unit were invited to attend the game and ceremony.
“We decided to honor these two Soldiers...our main focus is the Soldier,” said Tina Torfin, the AUSA Lacey subchapter president. “It just turned out, by chance, that both of these Soldiers are from the 3rd Stryker Brigade, our partner brigade for the Lacey subchapter. We thought that it would be only fitting to do something to honor them.”
AUSA decided to host the event during the baseball game because it was a chance to get the Soldiers off base and let them have fun with their community partners.
“It shows them how much we appreciate them, and it’s great, I think, that we got the opportunity to include 50 of their buddies,” said Torfin.
For Kacapyr and Jackson, the day was about more than just getting out for a little fun; it was their chance to see how much their local community appreciates what they do.
“I think it’s great,” said Kacapyr, a Candor, N.Y., native and reconnaissance team leader. “It’s nice to be rewarded and it’s nice to give my platoon a day off.”
Kacapyr and Jackson were both surprised by how much support they’ve received during the competition.
“It’s nice to see the community is behind us,” Kacapyr said. “It’s nice to see that we have that relationship with the community around JBLM.”
With the I Corps’ Soldier/NCO of the Year competitions behind them, Kacapyr and Jackson will move on to the Forces Command-level competition at Fort Bragg, N.C. Although they will face competitors from around the country, the Arrowhead Soldiers have high hopes.
“I expect to win,” said Jackson, a Young Harris, Ga., native and infantryman. Although he isn’t too sure of what subject he will be tested on, he’s still going into the competition with a lot of confidence.
“I’m going in with an open mind and just focusing on winning,” he said.
Between the baseball, the award ceremony, and the time off with their friends and colleagues, the game was a chance for Kacapyr and Jackson to take their minds off of their upcoming competition and just have fun.