Shrestha and Senna win 2012 Soldier and NCO of the Year awards 

10/23/2012 11:00 AM 

Spc. Saral Shrestha and Staff Sgt. Matthew Senna won the 2012 Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year awards, respectively.

The winners were announced on Monday, Oct. 22, during the Sergeant Major of the Army Luncheon at the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.

Shrestha, a 91D10, Power Generation Equipment Repairer to Group Service Support Company, Group Support Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, United States Army Special Forces Command, Ft. Bragg, served three years in the Army, including deployment in Operation Enduring Freedom. A native of Nepal, he possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Information Science from Bellevue University and is Airborne qualified.

He hopes to become a Noncommissioned Officer and complete the Army Ranger Course. Eventually, his goal is to attend Officer Candidate School and the Army Special Forces Selection Course, along with obtaining a master’s in computer engineering.

Senna, an 11B Infantryman of Bravo Company, 7th Army NCO Academy, Germany, served for 10 years in the Army, including time in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. The Folsom, California native is Air Assault, Combat Life Saver, all levels of Combatives, and certified by a number of training programs

Pursuing his associates degree, Senna plans to finish his bachelor’s, be inducted into the Sergeant Morales Club, and attain the rank of command sergeant major. Like Shrestha, he aims to attend Ranger School.

According to Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond F. Chandler, III, this year’s Best Warrior Competition was a bit different from last year and “not all about warrior tasks and battle drills” but included more “cognitive thinking” and “creative thinking.”

Chandler said that they wanted to “stress folks mentally to see how they would perform.” And, as the Sergeant Major of the Army explained, the contestants’ responses did not disappoint.

“The difference between the winner and the next soldier [in the score rankings] was literally a thousandth of a point,” he said.