USAMU Champion Wins Army Soldier of the Year

USAMU Champion Wins Army Soldier of the Year
By Brian Lepley & Michael Molinaro Army Accessions Command PAO

Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher
WASHINGTON -- Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher, U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, stands with Gen. Peter Chiarelli, Army Vice Chief of Staff, and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston Monday after being named the 2010 Army Soldier of the Year by Preston during the Association of the United States Army annual meeting. Gallagher and 23 other Soldiers and noncommissioned officers competed in the 2010 Best Warrior Competition at Ft. Lee Oct. 18-22. (Photo by Michael Molinaro, USAMU PAO)
United States Army Marksmanship Unit
United States Army Marksmanship Unit

WASHINGTON, DC –-( A Soldier with 21 national rifle shooting records added one more trophy to the case Monday: the U.S. Army’s Soldier of the Year.

Sgt. Sherri Gallagher’s young life has been one of high achievement. Now the 26-year old rifle shooter/instructor for the Army Marksmanship Unit is the first female to win the Army’s Best Warrior competition.

“This is such an honor – I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” Gallagher said moments after the announcement here Monday. “Any one of us could have won the competition. I learned so much from everybody out here and loved every minute of this experience.”

Named the winner by Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth Preston at the Association of the U.S. Army awards luncheon, the three-year veteran bested 11 other Soldiers representing the Army’s major commands during the competition Oct. 18-22 at Fort Lee, Va.

“The reason I was successful is the training my sponsor, Sgt. 1st Class David Steinbach, developed for me,” said Gallagher, a native of Prescott, Ariz. “He pushed me so hard that I was ready for everything during the competition. Nothing came as a shock and my confidence was really high. I wish that I could share this with him because it truly was a team effort.”

Her preparation was tested at every level during the week at Fort Lee. Following a board led by SMA Preston Oct. 18, competitors were tested on their knowledge in a written exam and essay. Three days of field exercises Oct. 20-22 was next. The candidates conducted urban orienteering Wednesday and each led a squad through simulated battle operations that included engaging insurgents, tending wounded Soldiers on the battlefield, and a stress shoot while moving under enemy fire Thursday and Friday.

Steinbach said it wasn’t difficult preparing Gallagher. A Soldier that soaks up training like a sponge is extremely motivating.

“She’s pretty easy to train. For every bit you put into it, she will give you that much back and more,” Steinbach said. “I tell people that training her was as easy as using a claymore mine; just pull a trigger and she’ll do all of the work.”

Work was the order of the day for Gallagher at Fort Lee during Best Warrior. Though small in stature, she demonstrated the drive and determination it takes to be a U.S. national rifle champion.

“The amount of preparation they put into every lane was amazing,” she said of the experience. “Every event was so professional, above and beyond what I was expecting.”

One event Gallagher was expected to ace, of course, was M4 rifle qualification.

“It was faster-paced, quick, reactive shooting, but all shooting’s the same,” she said, “Keep your sights aligned and you’re good. “I’m always more comfortable with a gun in my hand.”

Gallagher’s quest began after being named the U.S. Army Accessions Command Soldier of the Year in May at Fort Knox. Ky. In July, she won the Training and Doctrine Command Best Warrior competition at Fort Lee, sending her to the Army event.

In between preparing for numerous boards and Soldier competitions, Gallagher became the first U.S. military shooter since 1987 to win the National High-Power Rifle Championship in August. She was only the second woman ever to win, following in her mother Nancy Tomkins’ footsteps.

Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher and her mother
WASHINGTON -- Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher and her mother, Nancy Tompkins, celebrate Gallagher being named Army Soldier of the Year Monday at the Association of United States Army annual meeting. Gallagher and her mother are the only women to ever win the National High-Power Rifle Championship. (Photo by Michael Molinaro, USAMU PAO)

Gallagher’s family is legendary in U.S. shooting competition.

“My family is always there for me – we are really close,” Gallagher said. “Being named Best Warrior was that much more special since my mom was there sitting next to me today. I am who I am today because of my family. We have so much fun and live life that way.”

Being assigned to the AMU was another benefit to her path to Army Soldier of the Year, she said. With a little more than 100 Soldiers assigned to it, it represents teamwork and success. This year alone the unit has produced multiple national and world champions who are also U.S. Olympians. Army Soldier of the Year becomes a unique accomplishment in a unit known for high achievement.

“My Army family is awesome,” Gallagher said.

“My teammates on the service rifle team have always had my back. The entire unit went out of its way to support me in any way they could. Even the leadership at Accessions Support Brigade and Accessions Command would call me and offer help. The whole experience was just fantastic.”

As a unit that falls under USAAC, Gallagher is used to representing the Army all over the nation. One of the marksmanship units’ main missions is promoting Army service and connecting America’s Army to the American public.

“She connects with people in a way that’s immediate,” said Lt. Col. Daniel Hodne, AMU commander. “Sgt. Gallagher possesses a unique combination of skill sets and character traits. She easily stands out because she is truly ‘one of a kind’ and we simply knew that she had the potential to earn the prestigious title of Army Soldier of the Year.”

This week begins a year of Gallagher representing the Army as its best enlisted Soldier. Next week, however, it’s back to training: Airborne School at Fort Benning, Ga., before attending Warrior Leaders Course soon after that.

“How great is the Army?” she asked. “I just got to spend a week with some of the most talented people this Army has to offer, and in a few weeks I get to jump out of an airplane. Nothing is better than being a Soldier.”

Sgt. Sherri Gallagher assesses a mock casualty
FORT LEE, Va. - Sgt. Sherri Gallagher assesses a mock casualty during the warrior skills lane at the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition here Oct. 21. Gallagher was named the Army Soldier of the Year at the Association of the U.S. Army award luncheon Monday in Washington D.C. (U.S. Army Accessions Command photo by Forest Berkshire)
Sgt. Sherri Gallagher departs the rifle range
FORT LEE, Va. - Sgt. Sherri Gallagher departs the rifle range after qualifying during the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition here Oct. 21. Gallagher was named the Army Soldier of the Year at the Association of the U.S. Army award luncheon Monday in Washington D.C. (U.S. Army Accessions Command photo by Forest Berkshire)

(Forest Berkshire contributed to this story)

About USAMU:
The USAMU’s mission is to raise the standard of marksmanship proficiency and combat readiness throughout the Army by sharing knowledge gained from competing and winning in national/ international competitions, research and development and advanced training programs while enhancing the Army’s recruiting effort through an active public information and public relations program. For more information on the U.S. Army Marksmanship Unit, contact the Public Affairs Office at (706) 545-5436, [email protected] or .

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sahan madushanka

grate lady… the best!!!!!

Ray Vaughn

Soldier of the year is not based on combat tours but skills. If there had been no Iraq or Afghanistan, all soldiers would have the same experience. Sgt.Gallagher has been deployed to the Sandbox recently but if you think she's overrated, all the guys she outshoots at Camp Perry and Fort Benning sure don't. It's hard for a Marine to applaud someone who broke Gunny

Fuch's long range match record scores but facts are facts. Sherri is the real deal.

Mr. Jay

To: SGT Gallagher
Congratulations my dear, good job and well done.. To the boys who call themselves men, you have no idea what you are talking about so do us all a favor "STOP TALKING" to the ladies backing up SGT Gallagher good for you, take care of your sister in arms. I come from a time when we take care of women and we are chivalrous and I was under the understanding that chivalry is not dead, it is nice to know that I am a dieing breed, there is hope for me yet…. That is nice to know…..

Mr. Rhodes

I have no doubt she's an expert shot. I've seen several great female shooters – some better than many men. But the "contest" itself sounds a little too sterile and contrived. I agree with Alex to a small degree. 3 years and no deployment? Sorry, a "Soldier of the Year" award should require some real combat experience. More political correctness run amuck.



Grow up. She'll get her chance in the line.


You might to check your facts; women are deployed and fight now. And no, no one ever asked you or any other citizen if it was okay. An example is Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester (


I shot beside her at the long range nationals at Perry this last year. I have no doubt she earned the award. It's unfortunate for us that women arn't deployed in combat positions because she would kick some insurgent butt. If she weren't such a nice person I'd bet she'd kick your's too Alex…




Sgt. Gallagher met all criteria to be the Army's Best Warrior. When that criteria changes to Medals of Honor, Purple Hearts or Bronze Stars, those soldiers will get considered.


Congratulations SGT Gallagher. Sounds like Alex is a little sad that his command didn't think he was up to par to compete aginst the best. While 98% of the Soldiers are great, there a the few that just can't cut it. And I think its great that you could outshoot any man the in the Army. Great job!!


Everyone should be proud of the young SOLDIER who steps up to the challenges and overcomes all that has been set before her. Alex…. give it a break and atease the noise. If you were half the Soldier she was maybe you could step up and learn something from her. She has done things that many could not have. SGT proud of everything that you have accomplished so far. There will be more to come. You are a role model for all Soldiers to follow. Apply everything that you know and your career will be filled with many rewards.… Read more »


SGT. Gallagher is assigned to the Army Marksmanship Unit and has only been in the Army 3 years and at her first duty station. She has not been assigned to a deployable unit yet. Give it a rest Alex.




any deployment……nope

so why would you win "warrior of the year" …….

the army has had how many medal of honors this year…….

how many soldiers have deployed to a combat zone……

and this sammich maker wins warrior of the year hmmmm

so screw the medal of honor winners and soldiers that have killed and died fighting the taliban.

she will go down in history with jessica lynch hiding under the steering column with a full magazine.