Best Warrior Competition 2020

Kentucky National Guard Soldiers wait to zero their M-4’s prior to their rifle marksmanship during the Best Warrior Competition Oct. 22, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Brett Horback)

By Spc. Brett Hornback, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

GREENVILLE, Ky. – Nine Soldiers rose to the occasion to compete for the honor of winning the Best Warrior Competition at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center Oct. 21-25.

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Each day of the competition consisted of at least three events that tested the aptitude, physical endurance and mental resilience of the participating noncommissioned officers (NCO) and junior-enlisted Soldiers.

The group of Soldiers thrived within the atmosphere of competition while still maintaining a strong sense of solidarity. Due to the physical demand of the continuous events, physical taxation could be seen on the face of the competitors as they pushed their bodies to the limits. In moments where resilience was required, words of encouragement could be heard from Soldiers of all ranks.

Kentucky National Guardsman, Sgt. Shean Mathais conducts a functions check on M249 B lite machine gun for his Army Warrior Task a during the Best Warrior Competition Oct. 22, 2020. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Benjamin Crane)

Events such as call for fire and the night land navigation forces Soldiers to implement the training they receive during their military career. It shows the importance of their individual readiness.

“The Best Warrior Competition was designed to give individual Soldiers the opportunity to evaluate and/or reaffirm the skills they’ve learned as an Army professional,” said Sgt. 1st Class Paul England, a training NCO with the Kentucky National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery.

According to England, the performance of every soldier in the competition is recorded and discussed with the Soldier’s brigade to discuss potential areas of improvement for training; therefore, allowing the competition to grow Soldiers in individual and corporate settings. Strong Soldiers make for a strong and unified Kentucky National Guard.

While implementing skills they learned, the Soldiers provided encouragement to other competitors, but the motivation to win still remained.

“Most Soldiers compete because they want a challenge, to have fun, prove their skills, and to have the opportunity to soldier,” said Master Sgt. Anthony Kennedy.

Senior NCO of the Year went to Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Scott with Bravo Battery, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery. The NCO of the Year for this competition went to Staff Sgt. James Weitzman with the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion, and Spc. Dakota Michel of Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, was awarded Soldier of the Year.

Michel, a college student pursuing a triple major and an employee with his family-owned business, says he prioritizes his duties within the guard to hold himself to the highest standard. He encourages others to do the same.

“Winning has definitely given me confidence in who I am as a Soldier,” said Michel, “I’m motivated to keep developing into an even better Soldier, and I’m hoping this win will give that same drive to others in my unit.”

Army National Guard traditions, like the Best Warrior Competition, are the a driving force for every Army generation. They evoke Soldiers of all ranks to stay diligent and pursue and maintain a ‘warrior spirit.’

Senior NCO of the Year went to Sgt. 1st Class Clinton Scott with Bravo Battery, 623rd Field Artillery Morgan’s men, NCO of the year was Staff Sgt. James Weitzman with the 103rd Brigade Support Battalion and Soldier of the year went to Spc. Dakota Michel, Alpha Co., 1/149th Infantry.

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