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It's one of the most prestigious awards in the military: Soldier of the Year. One Colorado Springs man has earned the regional award and will compete for the national award.
Specialist Roger Alicea had to complete oral, written and physical tests. "It's a test of all around soldier skills," SPC Alicea said.
He joined the Colorado National Guard just a month after September 11th. He's very proud to fight for his country, which is exactly why he's been competing for the soldier of the year award. He had to win three competitions to even get to Regionals. But the catch, Alicea told us, is that he didn’t even win state. He was the alternate and as luck would have it, he was called to go to Regionals. The specialist apparently passed with flying colors.
His wife said she thinks the world of him. "His dedication. He's amazing. You know, it’s hard not to get emotional; he’s just amazing all the way around," Theresa Alicea said.
Winning is no easy task. SPC Alicea has to be fit physically. "I have to do pushups for 2 minutes, sit-ups for 2 minutes and a 2 mile run as fast as you can go. It’s not easy," he laughs. He also has to be fit mentally, spending more than 2 hours a night studying. He has to know "warrior tasks such as maintaining weapons, first aid, tactical aid."
Alicea's face lights up when you mention the military. This is something he was born to do. "Being a soldier, I believe, is the best way to show your deep appreciation for what this country is."