Meet the US Army's Soldier of the Year, a Nepalese Immigrant
The US Army named its soldier of the year on Monday. He's a special forces-connected sergeant, an officer-in-training, an Afghanistan vet... and a recent immigrant to the United States from Nepal.
Sgt. Saral Shrestha, a native of Kathmandu, came to America in 2007 and enlisted in the Army in 2009; according to his parents, he came on a student visa but was granted US citizenship in an Army naturalization ceremony. He currently serves as a power-generator technician with the 3rd Special Forces Group, supporting their missions overseas, and reportedly tore up the stiff competition for the service's coveted prize.
"The competition included urban warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams, and battle drills simulating what soldiers would encounter in combat," the local Ft. Bragg newspaper reports. That probably wasn't hard for Shrestha, who'd already deployed to the Afghan war zone and plans to take an officer's commission after he finishes a master's degree. (As motivation, Shrestha cited his great grandfather, who served in the British Army during World War II. "I heard his stories when I was growing up and I guess that inspired me to some extent," he told the Republica, a Nepali daily newspaper.)