National Guardsman of year from Kannapolis
By Sgt. Miko M. Booth
National Guard Public Affairs
CAMP BUTNER ó The North Carolina National Guard has named Kannapolis resident Sgt. 1st Class Robert P. Wheeler Soldier of the Year for the enlisted ranks of E7-E9.
Wheeler competed against 17 soldiers from across the state over the past week.
In addition to winning the Soldier of the Year in the senior enlisted category, he earned the right to represent the N.C. National Guard in the Noncommissioned Soldier of the Year Region 3 competition scheduled later this year.
Wheeler logged the highest score for a male competitor in the Army Physical Fitness Test, one of several obstacles in the Soldier of the Year Competition, which also included events such as a land navigation course, a six-mile road march, and many other Soldier events.
ěThis was my first time competing in this event,î said Wheeler. ěIím excited for regionals.î
Wheeler, impressed with the camaraderie built during the week, noted he definitely met a ěgreat bunch of battle buddiesî at the competition.
N.C. National Guard Commander, Army Maj. Gen. Gregory A. Lusk, awarded Wheeler with the North Carolina National Guard Meritorious Service Medal after naming the winners.
Wheeler, a native of St. Johnsbury, Vt., is married and earned his physical education degree from Winthrop University in 2003.
During his 19 years of military service, he earned the Bronze Star, Army Commendation Medal with two Bronze Oak Leafs, Army Achievement Medal with one Silver Oak Leaf, three Army Good Conduct Ribbons, National Defense Service Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal with a Bronze Service Star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbons and the Army Service Ribbon with the Bronze Service Star.