Kentucky Guardsmen compete in regional Best Warrior Competition

Story by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs

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Sgt. Christopher DeLeon (#14) and Staff Sgt. Nicholas Anglin (#4) begin a six-mile road march as part of the 2014 National Guard Region III Best Warrior Competition at Camp Blanding, Fla., April 15, 2014. The two Guardsmen represented Kentucky amongst Soldiers from nine other states and territories. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

CAMP BLANDING, Fla. — Kentucky’s Soldier and non-commissioned officer of the year competed with the top Guardsmen of the Southeast in the 2014 National Guard Region III Best Warrior Competition at Camp Blanding, Fla., April 14-17.

After winning the state competition last November, Staff Sgt. Nicholas Anglin of the 201st Engineer Battalion and Sgt. Christopher DeLeon from the 2123rd Transportation Company represented the commonwealth at the next level. The Kentuckians were pitted against other Guardsmen from states and territories in Region III of the National Guard (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Virgin Islands) in a four-day, event-filled contest, fitting of the “Best Warrior” title.

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Sgt. Christopher DeLeon drags a simulated casualty during an urban operations exercise as part of the 2014 Region III Best Warrior Competition at Camp Blanding, Fla., April 14, 2014. The exercise tested the Soldiers’ skills in room clearing, use of grenades, casualty treatment and radio communication. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

“This week has been exciting, it’s been stressful, uplifting, encouraging, just everything you think it would be,” said Anglin. “It pushes you to your limits and how far you can push yourself mentally and physically.”

Click here to see more photos from the competition.

Competitors were met with a grueling schedule of events kicking off before the sun rose to well into the evenings with few rest periods in between. Challenging events such a six-mile ruck march, air assault obstacle course and two-mile stress shoot were unique tasks mixed with the more practical Army physical fitness test and land navigation course. All part of a competition much different than the Soldiers won at the state-level.

Anglin said a highlight for him was running his fastest two-mile run time during the Army Physical Fitness Test, but said his favorite event was the stress shoot which combined endurance, skill and marksmanship, all over a diverse two-mile course.

“My most memorable moment is this feeling right now, that I survived the week,” he said. “I have a sense of pride knowing that I was able to accomplish these tasks and get through everything. I may not have been the best, but I finished and that is a sense of accomplishment for me.”

DeLeon agreed that the week was beneficial to him as a person and future leader of Soldiers. He enjoys more physical training, but said the best feeling was the relaxation of finishing.

“I feel like that was the most stressful week of my life,” he said. “I feel honored to represent the 2123rd and the whole state. I’d do it again, but I think another Soldier should experience this type of competition, and I’ll be back as a sponsor to train and guide them through it.”

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Staff Sgt. Nicholas Anglin balances on a rope swing of the air assault obstacle course during the Region III Best Warrior Competition at Camp Blanding, Fla., April 15, 2014. The obstacle course was part of a four-day event that brought the best Soldier and non-commissioned officer from each of the ten states and territories in the Southeast. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Scott Raymond)

Anglin and DeLeon both were accompanied by a sponsor, another Soldier from their unit who acted as a battle buddy who helped them study and prepare for each event. Sgt. 1st Class David Adams and Sgt. James Ford were at Anglin and DeLeon’s side respectively, keeping them motivated throughout the week.

The competitors ruined a couple uniforms, slept little, lost a few pounds and learned a lot of what they are made of. They dusted off the dirt and covered the scratches and bruises with their Army Service Uniform for the culminating board appearances and banquet that wrapped up the week. Each competitor was congratulated by the state command sergeant major of each state and territory in attendance.

Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Chumley, Kentucky’s State Command Sergeant Major travelled with the pair to Florida to help cheer them on.

While the trophies went to the top Soldiers, both from the Mississippi National Guard, Chumley was in awe of the Kentuckians every step of the way.

“These Soldiers have done outstanding, I’m proud of them,” said Chumley. “They went far beyond what I expected, they gave 110 percent.”

“I want them to know that their units, their sergeants major, their first sergeants ought to be proud of them, they represented Kentucky well.”

 

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