IMCOM-Europe NCO of the Year: quintuple victory for USAG Stuttgart

For the fifth year in a row, a Military Policeman assigned to the U.S. Army Garrison Stuttgart has won the Installation Management Command Europe NCO of the Year Best Warrior Competition.

USAG Stuttgart’s Sgt. Jacob Brewster, a military police investigator, was named the 2011 NCO of the Year in a ceremony held May 12 in Heidelberg.

USAG Benelux’s Spc. Jonathan Melendez won the Soldier of the Year title.

Brewster and Melendez now move on to the IMCOM Best Warrior Competition in San Antonio, Texas, scheduled for May 23-27.

“Sgt. Brewster and his teammates did an excellent job preparing for the IMCOM-E Best Warrior Competition,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony M. Bryant, the garrison command sergeant major.

“He understands that USAG Stuttgart has brought home the NCO of the Year title for the last four years. Now, it’s five. There is no doubt in my mind that he will represent IMCOM-Europe well at the IMCOM Best Warrior competition.”

Brewster said he was undaunted by past performances of his fellow NCOs, Staff Sgt. Christopher McDougall, the 2010 Army NCO of the Year; and Staff Sgt. Ronald White, the 2009 IMCOM NCO of the Year.

“The only real pressure is the pressure I put on myself,” he said. “All I can do is train as much as possible and give 100 percent.”

The award ceremony followed a three-day battle at the Grafenwöhr Training Area May 2-4 with 11 Soldiers competing for the honors.

“My competitors were really tough,” said Brewster, 27, “During the whole competition, there was never a time that I thought I was going to win — I thought I’d have to come back next year.”

This is the first time he has ever measured himself against his peers, and the process has been an eye-opener, he said. “I’m finding out a lot about myself — even if I fail an event, I am able to keep a positive attitude and drive on.”

During the Graf competition, Brewster and his fellow competitors underwent a comprehensive evaluation of skills, ranging from physical fitness to warrior tasks to written essays.

He excelled in the 12-mile road march. With a 35-pound rucksack on his back and an additional 20 pounds of gear, Brewster crossed the finish line first in two hours and 27 minutes.

 “This is just one event, but I feel good about where I am in the competition,” said Brewster, after the march. “Seeing the whole competition and knowing what the other competitors can do keeps you on your toes. I’ll just continue to do the best I can in every event.”

 Assessing his strengths and weaknesses, he admitted that if he has a weakness, it is combatives.

“Lately, I haven’t had the opportunity to really train in combatives,” Brewster said. “The event was a real challenge for me. My inexperience showed in my breathing and technique.”

 Brewster said the ruck march is his best event. “I enjoy backpacking — rucking is just a harder version.”

Editor’s note: Molly Hayden, USAG Grafenwöhr, and Tom Budzyna, USAG Schinnen, also contributed to this article.