King represents AFRICOM at USO Soldier Salute
By Sgt. Terysa M. King, U.S. Army Africa Public Affairs
Ramstein Air Base, GERMANY --After countless hours preparing and studying to win board after board, Spc. Antonio M. King, an information technology specialist with U.S. Army Africa, will remember 2012 as his best professional year in the Army so far.
King, a Columbia, S.C. native, set himself apart from his peers to be selected as USARAF’s Soldier of the Year. While he did not win the Best Warrior Competition, King’s hard work, dedication and achievements did not go unnoticed as he was selected to represent U.S. Africa Command in the 20th annual United Services Organization’s (USO) Europe Soldier Salute Oct. 19.
King, 22, said he was initially surprised he was nominated, but felt honored to represent AFRICOM.
“It was a huge honor to be selected out of all the Marines, Airmen, Sailors and Army personnel that fall under AFRICOM. I was thanking God for allowing me to be selected as the AFRICOM’s USO Soldier and receiving all the recognition I was given,” King said.
Sgt. Maj. Michael Robledo, USARAF, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion sergeant major, describes King as an outstanding example of a motivated Soldier who lives the Army Values, seeks self-improvement and commits to becoming the best Soldier he can be. Robledo said he nominated King for the Soldier Salute because of his professionalism and dedication that lead him to become USARAF’s Soldier of the year.
“It's a great feeling to see one of our own representing AFRICOM. Even though we are a relatively new organization, we have many outstanding Soldiers and Specialist King is a fine example of the type of Soldiers we have in our organization. It's always a nice to see Soldiers recognized for going above and beyond what is expected of them. I'm very proud of Specialist King's accomplishments and look forward to the great things he will do in his Army career,” Robledo said.
King and 11 others were honored in front of more than 300 guests, including Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, commander, U.S. Army in Europe, and several U.S. and German dignitaries, service members and USO volunteers. The event included a champagne reception, dinner, and an award ceremony, all of which surpassed King’s expectations.
“I didn’t think the event would be as big as it was, I thought it was just going to be a dinner and I would receive a plaque, but it was way more than that. My favorite part was when I walked to the stage through the Sabers, it was an indescribable feeling; all I can say is I felt so proud to be serving my country,” King said. As 2012 comes to an end, King said he plans to continue to work on his professional development and work towards receiving his Bachelor of Information Technology degree as well earning more IT certifications.
Robledo’s advice for other Soldiers who want recognition for their achievements is to never settle for just meeting the standard when it comes to the Army Physical Fitness Test or attending a board.
“The Army provides many avenues by which Soldiers can get ahead and make themselves better. The ones that grab those opportunities and make the best of them are the ones that will go far in our Army,” Robledo said.
The USO Soldier Salute is a longstanding ceremony that celebrates the best of the best U.S. and German service members in Europe.