Vice Adm. Michael J. Dumont has seen international conflicts become increasingly complex and technology revolutionize the way the U.S. military operates.

But the reason for the success of America’s armed forces on the battlefield are the same as they were in World War II, the deputy commander of U.S. Northern Command told a crowd of hundreds of people on Thursday at the DoubleTree hotel in Colorado Springs.

Dumont and others gathered at an annual city luncheon to honor local soldiers and airmen who continue to make that success possible by having the courage “to do what needs to be done, no matter the difficulty or the cost.”

“The impact our young men and women make every day is clear, and it is immeasurable, and it is critical to the defense our nation and our way of life,” he said. “We are able to champion our freedoms because we are fortunate enough to recruit citizens who possess the will and the courage to endure and to prevail.”

Troops at the Pikes Peak region’s five military bases have competed for the title of “Outstanding Enlisted of the Year.” At the event, three winners were announced from a pool of 15 nominees, chosen by a panel of retired military officers.

The awards went to Army Spc. Dillon Ball from Fort Carson, Colorado National Guard Staff Sgt. Lisa Ritchie of Colorado Springs and Master Sgt. Jacob Wheeler from U.S. Northern Command.

“We’re very happy, very proud,” Wheeler said after the luncheon, adding that he appreciated the community support.

“I’m no more deserving than any of the rest of the 15 here.”

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