Army athletes, coach of the year honored at AUSA Winter symposium

Friday, April 01, 2011

Three soldiers, selected as the athletes and coach of the year for 2010, were honored and recognized Feb. 24 at the Association of the United States Army’s Winter Symposium and Exposition in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Capt. Robert Killian, a Colorado Army National Guardsman and a competitive triathlete and Ironman who is now assigned to the 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group, was recognized as the male athlete of the year.

Sgt. April McGarity, a competitive softball player now attending the U.S. Army Recruiting and Retention School, Fort Jackson, S.C., was honored as the female athlete of the year.

Sgt. 1st Class Robert Bailey, coach of the All Army Woman’s Softball Team who is the unit operations noncommissioned officer with the 14th Military Police Brigade, Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., received the award for being the coach of the year.

The three soldier-athletes were presented their awards by Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, commanding general, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and the Army chief of staff-designate; Gen. Ann E. Dunwoody, commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command; and Gen. Gordon R. Sullivan, USA, Ret., AUSA president.

Killian, a competitive triathlete and an All-Army soldier-athlete, competed in 11 triathlons in 2010 and was a member of the All-Army Triathlon Team.

He also distinguished himself by representing the Army in the 2010 World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii, where he finished first in the Military Division.

This grueling three-part, mentally and physically challenging race involves a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bike race and a treacherous 26.2-mile marathon.

As a signal officer before joining the special forces, Killian served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Lt. Gen. John Mulholland, commanding general, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, who spoke to the symposium audience following the awards’ presentation, joined Killian on stage for his recognition.

McGarity, a competitive softball player, was stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, where she served as a diet technician at Brooke Army Medical Center, before attending the Army Recruiting and Retention School.

A three-time All Army woman’s softball player, who has served in Operation Iraqi Freedom, McGarity led the Army team to a perfect 8-0 record and a Gold Medal in the Armed Forces Championship.

Known for her unmatched competitive spirit and leadership qualities, McGarity’s flawless defensive record and .594 batting average, led her to become a member of the coveted Armed Forces All Tournament Team.

Bailey, as coach of the 2010 All Army Woman’s Softball Team, successfully and triumphantly brought this team to an 8-0 record in the Armed Forces Championship tournament and was awarded the Gold Medal and first place in this highly challenging and demanding competition.

Because of his abilities, seven of his players were named to the Armed Forces National Team and six players, including the female athlete of the year – McGarity – were named to the Armed Forces All Tournament Team.

Bailey’s citation read in part: "Imparting a competitive spirit, and a true sense of sportsmanship, teamwork, selfless service and integrity to the women athletes on his team, Sergeant Bailey, a veteran of the war in Iraq, is truly a leader and an outstanding example of the best of the NCO Corps."

"Sergeant Bailey has set the highest standards while mentoring soldier-athletes and this is a truly outstanding example of the best of our Army’s NCO Corps," Sullivan said.

"These three outstanding soldier-athletes," Sullivan added, "represent the best of America’s Army as they serve in their assigned duties and also compete in athletic competitions for our Army and our nation. We are very proud of you."