WIU Political Science Student Named Soldier of the Year After Brigade Competition
August 20, 2012
MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University political science student Michael Quigley, of Camp Point, has been named the 108th Sustainment Brigade's Soldier of the Year after a two-day competition earlier this month.
Spc. Quigley, who spent months studying and training for the Aug. 11 and 12 competition in Springfield, was chosen for the honor from nearly 2,100 soldiers.
Quigley serves with Detachment 1 of the 1844th Transportation Company in Beardstown. He is currently a junior at Western. He won against three other top soldiers from the 108th Special Troops Battalion in Chicago, 108th Multifunction's Medical Battalion in Chicago and the 232nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Springfield.
"I am very pleased to have won this great honor," Quigley said. "Really the competition was the culmination of months of studying Army regulations and field manuals, perfecting my soldier tasks and drills and putting in tons of time at the gym all summer long."
Quigley and Sgt. Anthony Dowling, of St. Charles, the 108th's Noncommissioned Officer of the Year (NCO), will go on to represent the brigade against the Soldiers and NCOs of the Year from three other Illinois Army National Guard brigades at the state-level competition in September. The winners of the state competition will go on to represent Illinois in the regional competition against states in the region.
"There are only four brigades in the state of Illinois, so no matter how I do at the state competition, I'm already considered one of the top four soldiers in the state," he said. "I can't wait for the state competition; I will be studying harder than ever over this next month to bring home the state title as ‘Soldier of the Year' for Illinois."
Quigley said the August competition consisted of physical fitness, soldier drills and land navigation, and the state competition will have weapons qualification, ruck marching, confidence courses and many other physically demanding portions.
While working throughout the summer to prepare for the August competition, Quigley spent three to four hours a day at the Donald S. Spencer Student Recreation Center on campus. He also worked with his girlfriend, WIU senior Kali Graves, and his best friend and former WIU student Martin Renner, of Camp Point, quizzing him.
"Basically I just fully involved myself in preparing for the competition all summer," he said. "My girlfriend and my best friend share just as much stake in my success as I do."
Quigley's sponsor for the competition was Sgt. Justin Palmer, a WIU sophomore geography major from Macomb. Palmer helped Quigley prepare, then took him to the competition and introduced him to the judging board.