By now, you should all know that we have identified the best noncommissioned officer and Soldier who will represent the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command in this year’s Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition. But just in case you haven’t heard, our winners were Staff Sgt. Nicholas Bogert from the Fires Center of Excellence at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, and Spc. Kenneth Vice from Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia. I am very confident that these two great Soldiers will clearly demonstrate to the other competitors that TRADOC has fit, disciplined and well-trained Soldiers within our many organizations.
As I stood on the stage waiting to announce the winners, I listened to the narrator describe the event. I was amazed at what these Soldiers had been exposed to in a little more than 72 hours of continuous training. Here’s what the narrator read to the crowd:
“The [TRADOC] Best Warrior Competition started with a physical fitness assessment that set the pace for what could be expected throughout the next four days. Over the course of the competition, these warriors were tested mentally, physically, and at times, emotionally by demonstrating proficiency in a number of areas. These areas included multiple weapon systems, M4 marksmanship and a live-fire exercise, first aid, combatives, day and night land navigation, media relations, a physical endurance obstacle course, and multiple written examinations that required early mornings, late nights, and not much room for rest. Each competitor traveled about 30 miles on foot, while carrying a 30-pound ruck sack and weapon throughout the three-day, hands-on portion. The final event of the competition was completed as each competitor crossed the finish line at the end of the 12-mile foot march.”
As I looked at each of the 19 competitors, they were tired, sore and sweaty. But they were standing there at parade rest, prideful of giving it their all throughout the competition. Winning is great, but the feeling of accomplishment and self-awareness they earned over those few days will last a lifetime. They will become better Soldiers and NCOs in our organization for stepping up to the challenge.
So here’s to all of the competitors for a job well done!
Representing the Maneuver Center of Excellence:
Spc. Kenneth K. Vice
Staff Sgt. Blain F. Postal
Representing the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence:
Spc. Dillon M. Murray
Staff Sgt. Matthew D. Poole
Representing the Fires Center of Excellence:
Staff Sgt. Nicholas R. Bogert
Representing the Intelligence Center Of Excellence:
Spc. Robert B. Cobb
Staff Sgt. Kyle J.C. Wu
Representing the Sustainment Center of Excellence:
Sgt. Eliasib Fregoso
Staff Sgt. Eva Miranda-Bernard
Representing the Cyber Center of Excellence:
Staff Sgt. Joseph S. Hicks
Representing the United States Army Recruiting Command:
Sgt. 1st Class Joseph W. Frost
Representing the United States Army Cadet Command:
Spc. Tyler A. Shicks
Sgt. 1st Class Michael T. Iozzo
Representing the Asymmetric Warfare Group:
Sgt. 1st Class Henry W. Fayson
Representing the United States Army Training Center:
Spc. Amanda C. Reuter
Staff Sgt. Chriss Brooks
Representing the United States Army Sergeant Major Academy:
Sgt. 1st Class Kenneth D. Stephens
Representing the Aviation Center of Excellence:
Staff Sgt. Ronald L. Hinman
Representing the Army Medical Center and School:
Spc. Matthew Seh
Staff Sgt. Jonathan L. Champion-Harris
As we begin the next round of leader development through competitions, I challenge you to step up and compete. Who knows … you may win, or you might not. But either way, I guarantee you will learn something about yourself.
Will I see you next year at the TRADOC Best Warrior Competition — or the Army level? I hope so.