Home : Features : 2012 : Outstanding Soldiers and Airmen of the Year : Army : Best Ranger
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1LT Nicholas F Plocar - Wisconsin National Guard

I am currently serving as the Scout Platoon Leader for the HHC, 2-127th IN BN, in Appleton, Wisconsin. I was born in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin on August 22nd, 1986 and graduated from Howards Grove High School in 2005. After high school I attended the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point where I studied Political Science with a minor in Military Science and Spanish. I received my commission through the ROTC program at Stevens Point and graduated in the spring of 2009. I have aspirations of attending Law School at the University of Wisconsin Madison.

I am being nominated as the outstanding member of the year for my performance in this year's Best Ranger Competition. This year the National Guard had two teams that placed higher than any other Guard teams have placed in the past. We went through a rigorous train up and then competed in the competition receiving 3rd and 6th Place respectively. This was a grueling 3 Day competition that put us up against the finest Ranger's in the Military.

I qualified for the All National Guard Marathon team on May 5th at the Lincoln National Guard Marathon with a time of 3:00:26. Also have competed in 3 different Half Ironman Distance Triathlons this year.

I have earned the Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge.


CPT Robert B Killian Jr - Colorado National Guard

Captain Robert B Killian Jr is a signal officer currently training at Fort Bragg, NC to become a Special Forces team leader assigned to 5th Battalion 19th SFG (A) of the Colorado National Guard.  He was born in Charleston South Carolina, on 3 March 1982, and attended Wade Hampton High School in Varnville SC, graduating as the top male in his class and number 4 overall. Killian was able to join the high school varsity track and-field team while still in junior high. In high school, he started running the ½-mile, 1-mile and 2-mile distances for the team placing runner-up in both distance events every year at his school’s state championship.  Killian enlisted into the South Carolina National Guard in 1999 as a 19D Calvary Scout with Bravo Company 202 CAV out of Beaufort SC. After just two short years in the guard he was honorably discharged to pursue a computer science degree in his hometown at The Citadel Military College under a full ROTC scholarship. He continued running the 1,500-,5,000 and 10,000-meter races for indoor and outdoor track and cross-country events, eventually becoming the fastest runner at the Citadel for three consecutive years, graduating in 2004 as a second lieutenant.

During his time as a lieutenant Killian graduated Ranger and Airborne training during the winter of 2005-06.  In 2008 he deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom while on active duty stationed at Fort Polk LA, under 5th Battalion 25th Field Artillery 4th Brigade Combat Team 10th Mountain Division. He was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal, and Combat Action Badge during this deployment.  After five years with 10th Mountain division he once again transitioned back to the National Guard assigned as the Signal Officer for 2nd Battalion, 135th Aviation Regiment (GSAB).  He served one year on active duty with 2-135th supporting the unit’s unique CBRNE Consequence Management Response Force (CCMRF) mission.  Killian developed and established a complex communications system during the Operation Vibrant Response CCMRF training exercise.  This required connecting numerous automations systems in a Joint environment where battalion operators needed to communicate to other DOD branches as well as civilian responders.  He quickly established the standard for TF Aviation and maintained the critical infrastructure necessary to operate in the JOA.

Killian has been the only male member in the US Army to compete on the All-Army Ironman Triathlon team for the past three years, individually finishing 1st overall at the Armed Forces Ironman World Championship 8 Oct 2010 in Kona, HI. For this accomplishment he received the 2010 US Army Athlete of the year award presented by General Demsey and Lt. Gen. Mulholland at the 2011 AUSA symposium. During the winter of 2011 he led the Colorado National Guard Biathlon team to an overall western regional victory and finished 1st overall during the NGB Championships in the Novice category. For the past two years Killian finished 1st place at the Lincoln National Guard Marathon with a time of 2 hours and 36 minutes. He took first place overall at the North American Summer Biathlon held at Camp Ethan Allen in Jerico, VT in Sept 2011 and was named the National Champion for USA.

In this year’s Best Ranger Competition, Killian and his partner, First Lieutenant Nicholas Plocar, lead the way finishing first in three events (day land navigation, overall day and night stakes and the 2.5-mile buddy run) and set course records in two others: the obstacle course known as the “Darby Queen,” and the Tri Tower Challenge, a 60-foot rock climbing tower and rappel followed by two more towers with rope ladder and knotted rope climbs. They finished 6th overall and as the top officer team in the competition.

His federal decorations include The Army Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal (5th Award) , Army Achievement Medal (3nd Award), Meritorious Unit Commendation, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Iraq Campaign Medal w/ Campaign Star, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, Combat Action Badge, Ranger Tab, Parachutist Badge,  German Efficiency Badge (Gold)