Falls Church, Va. – Sgt. Garrett Paulson, a combat medic at Bayne Jones Army Community Hospital at Fort Polk, Louisiana, is the first Army Medicine Soldier to be named the Army’s Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) of the Year. He won the honor in October after competing in the Army’s Inaugural Best Squad Competition.

Paulson has only been in the Army since 2017. He credits his family with the decision to join the Army. Both his parents are prior enlisted Soldiers and their support has been crucial to Paulson’s resiliency and success. He joined the Army at a time when he didn’t feel as though he had a clear focus for the future.

“I couldn’t think of a better place to go than the military,” he said.

His sister and brother-in-law also serve as officers in the Air Force. “Their service, as well as the service of my many extended relatives to the U.S. military played a heavy hand in my decision to enlist. I never thought of it as a family tradition until I joined and realized the service to the country my family has had. Now I have hope that one day my children may serve, in any capacity.”