Portland State University (PSU) student Tyler Brown has been named Oregon's 2011 Soldier of the Year and will represent the state in a competition for the regional title June 5-9 in North Dakota.
Brown, a PSU psychology major and infantryman with Bravo Company, 162 Infantry, competed in the Oregon Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition in March to win the state award. He was recognized at Oregon's Armed Forces Day ceremony May 19 at the State Capitol Mall.
The grueling three-day Best Warrior Competition included a combative tournament, stress shooting, general physical performance tests, a written essay, and an obstacle course and navigation using a map and compass. Soldiers appeared in front of a formal board in full dress uniforms to answer questions about their jobs and current events.
Brown said the competition promotes excellence among soldiers and motivates them to stay in shape.
"Representing myself, my unit, and the Guard is a pretty big deal," he said. "We're not just weekend warriors. We're ready to go all of the time."
Brown, has served in the Guard for four-and-a-half years, was deployed in Iraq in 2009, and expects to graduate from PSU in 2013. He is one of more than 700 student veterans at PSU and thousands of Oregon soldiers who have returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan following some of the largest deployments since Word War II. PSU, founded in 1946 as a school for veterans, offers a network of campus services designed to help those veterans transition successfully to college. Brown is public relations representative for the PSU Student Veterans Association.
If Brown wins the regional title in June, he will advance to the national competition, which he said would allow him "to meet tons of people, network, and make it possible for career advancement in the military." Plus, he said, "I work my butt off and it's nice to know that sometimes the work you put in is paying off."