By Sgt. Liane Hatch | 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs Office, 4th Infantry Division
FORT CARSON, Colo. — The U.S. Forces Command (FORSCOM) personnel team recognized Fort Carson’s Sgt. Edwin Escobar, human resources specialist with 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, as the FORSCOM Adjutant General (AG) Corps Soldier of the Year (SOY) for 2019-2020.
Escobar, who was recently promoted to the rank of sergeant, was selected above his peers to earn recognition as the SOY.
“I was shocked,” Escobar said. “I thought there was no way I was going to win. But I take a lot of pride in my work. I like my job, and I get to help people every day. It’s an honor to be recognized for it, even though that’s not why I do it.”
Originally from El Salvador, Escobar moved to Houston at age 3, and joined the Army after finishing school at Texas A&M with a degree in psychology. Fort Carson has been Escobar’s only duty station. Last year, Escobar deployed with 3rd ABCT to Kuwait in support of Operation Spartan Shield.
“I joined the Army pretty much right after I graduated in 2017,” Escobar said. “Then I went to basic training and (Advanced Individual Training) at Fort Jackson (South Carolina).”
Though he originally intended to enlist in a combat arms role, Escobar said his Family responsibilities and “social-butterfly” personality led him to choose human resources instead.
Having served in human resources since 2018, Escobar said he has learned and grown a lot as a Soldier. He credits his success to the supervisors and NCOs who taught him the job and who encouraged him to submit his SOY packet.
“My first line supervisor … Staff Sgt. (Monty) Greene, from the time I got to the unit, he was always pushing me to be better, always pushing me to learn more and not telling me the answers, but showing me how to find it out for myself,” Escobar said. “He and my other leaders kept pushing me to submit my packet. I thought there was no way, but he kept asking me, ‘what do you have to lose?’ and ‘what if you win?’ And it turned out he was right.”
Greene left Fort Carson shortly after Escobar was announced as the winner, but Escobar said even without seeing him in the office anymore, Greene’s impact on Escobar and his peers will be lasting.
“His professional knowledge, technical competence and attention to detail, coupled with demonstrated rapport with his superiors and peers, and excellent work accomplishment, make him a perfect candidate for this honor,” Lt. Col. Michael Erlandson, battalion commander, 1st Bn., 68th Armor Reg., 3rd ABCT, wrote of Escobar when recommending him for SOY.
Col. Grant Fawcett, commander, 3rd ABCT, also wrote that Escobar embodies the “warrior ethos,” and named him as, “simply the best battalion human resource specialist in the whole brigade.”
Escobar said the competition was unlike any other he’d been a part of. Instead of a board, the competition was centered on an essay honoring a fallen AG sergeant major, he added.
The competition, sponsored by the AG’s Corps Regimental Association, awards the Soldier and NCO of the year with Sgt. Maj. Larry Strickland Medals for distinguished achievement. Strickland was the senior enlisted leader for the deputy chief of staff for personnel when he was killed during 9/11 at the Pentagon.
As part of the competition, Escobar was required to write an essay detailing how his own contributions as a Soldier emulated Strickland as a Soldier, leader and values-based person.
“The biggest thing I took away from learning about Sgt. Maj. Strickland, was that he didn’t have to be in the Pentagon that day; he was all but retired. He didn’t have to go to work, but he went in anyway because he cared about his work and he cared about Soldiers,” Escobar said. “I try to emulate that same kind of thing. The Soldiers in my battalion are always telling me I go above and beyond to help them, but I don’t really think much of (it). I’ve always been that way. I’ve always tried to give 100 percent to everything I do.”