All who attended Fort Huachuca’s annual Installation Awards Banquet to recognize the 2013 “best of the best,” Feb. 21, at Thunder Mountain Activity Centre experienced an evening to remember.
Music, laughter, fine dining and guest speakers filled the evening with recognition and appreciation.
Guest speaker Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, commanding general, U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence and Fort Huachuca, or USAICoE, said, “For all those that are going to be recognized tonight, I just wanted to say ‘thanks for all you do, and all you do for the community, not only for Fort Huachuca but for Sierra Vista. And all the things you do for all the Soldiers, Sailors, [Airmen,] Marines, and Civilians that are on this post.’”
U.S. Representative Ron Barber assisted Ashley in presenting the awards.
The Civilian of the Year award was given to Gary Hayashi, operations research analyst, Electronic Proving Ground, for his outstanding technical proficiency and strong devotion to duty. Hayashi was selected from the more than 7,000 Civilian employees working for more than 40 organizations on Fort Huachuca.
“I am proud to serve the men and women in uniform over the past 22 years,” Hayashi said. “I have been part of teams that have tested equipment for all the services and ensured that they receive the best that this country can produce. This award is a reflection of all the professionals that I worked with over the years and the faith that they put in me so I could excel at my job.”
Rebecca Alwine received the Military Spouse of the Year award based on her attributes, dedication and volunteer support of Fort Huachuca. She was chosen and selected by members of the Military Spouse Magazine and by online voters.
In 2013, Alwine contributed more than 199 volunteer hours. She is a Family Readiness Group leader, she serves on the Military Spouses Club and she is a mother of two children, among other accomplishments.
“I am honored to have been chosen as a representative of the military spouse community here at Fort Huachuca,” Alwine said. “I hope to use this opportunity to increase the resources available to military spouses and be sure their voice is heard in this community.”
Instructor of the Year went to Sgt. 1st Class Michael Cosgrave, advanced initial training instructor, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion. In 2013 instructors were evaluated at a unit level as well as a school-wide competition and Cosgrave emerged on top because he was able to engage his students, deliver quality training and model the Army values.
Cosgrave was unable to attend the event to receive his award due to his recent permanent change of station to Fort Campbell, Ky.
The Fort Huachuca Marine of the Year was awarded to Sgt. Shawn Eriole, Marine Corps Detachment, for his superior performance of his duties as an unmanned aerial system repairer instructor. Eriole performed more than 600 hours of instruction and was personally responsible for a $1.2 million aircraft, in 2013.
Sailor of the Year, Petty Officer 1st Class Anthony Freshour, works at the Joint Interoperability Test Command and is a Buena High School graduate from Sierra Vista. This is the second time that Freshour received this award.
The Army Soldier of the Year and Army Noncommissioned Officer of the Year had to complete many hours of preparation for events that consisted of the Army physical fitness test, warrior tasks and battle drills, a 10-kilometer foot march with a rucksack weighing in excess of 35 pounds, a weapons qualification range, land navigation, an administrative board and a mystery event which further tested warrior tasks and battle drills.
Best Warrior Soldier of the Year was Cpl. Isaac Milam, Company B, 305th Military Intelligence Battalion, and the Best Warrior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year was Sgt. Joshua Granado, 18th Military Police Detachment.
“I am grateful for having the privilege to compete with Fort Huachuca’s finest warriors,” Milam said. “[Receiving the award] was an amazing experience that I was able to share with my wife.”
Along with the seven individual awards, Ashley and Barber presented unit retention awards to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, USAICoE; the Noncommissioned Officers Academy; the Military Intelligence Corps Band, the 18th MP Detachment, and the 111th MI Brigade for meeting 100 percent of their fiscal 2013 retention objectives.
Closing out the evening, Barber recognized the entire Fort Huachuca team, from both on and off post. “As the son of a veteran of World War II and Korea and Vietnam, I am very proud to be in Congress to be able to carry on the tradition that he gave me which is to honor our men and women who serve our country and keep us safe. My hat is off to each and every one of you, and to this great community that supports you so well,” he said.
Along with the respect and admiration that the awardees received, each person also received a gift bag donated by more than 30 local supporters and donors.