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BELGRADE LAKES, Maine (AP) — The U.S. Army has named a 28-year-old Maine resident its Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.

Staff Sgt. Ryan McCarthy, of Belgrade Lakes, took part in the Army’s Best Warrior competition this October after a career in the military in beginning in 2008. The Portland Press Herald reports he has served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was recently an instructor at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri.

Last month, McCarthy took part in a grueling six-day final competition with 10 other finalists. In addition to the noncommissioned officer award, he was given the Meritorious Service Medal for his win.

McCarthy says he is grateful for his family, including his grandfather — retired U.S. Army Col. Raymond Kaufman.