Top Soldiers Competing to be Warrior of the Year
All of this week, 24 of the U.S. Army’s top soldiers, from commands around the world, have been competing in the Best Warrior Competition at Ft. Lee.
They began Sunday evening with a welcoming ceremony; that was the end of the easy part. First Sargeant Derrick Green is in charge of operations for the Best Warrior Competition.
Green: That's all you have, is basically get an opportunity to see the other competitors coming from other major commands.
The competition began at O dark 30 Monday morning (that’s 5:30) with a physical. From that point forward, the competitors were on the clock.
Green: We use war and battle drill-related scenarios that they will experience in combat, as well as a written exam, an APFT, Army Physical Fitness Test, as well as a actual board proceeding with Army questions, Army history, et cetera, to evaluate the competitors, not only physical ability, also their mental agility.
A body, mind and spirit evaluation.
Green: As we move into a new era in the United States Army and we transition from Iraq to Afghanistan, this training will reflect the way ahead of the Army, the direction that the Army is moving in, so we have smarter, faster soldiers in the United States Army and this competition is one that will identify, at the end of the day, at the end of five days of events and competition, the best soldier and non-commissioned officer.
The 24 soldiers involved have been competing for months to earn the right to represent their command.
Green: The best soldier and NCO from that major command from all military occupational specialties, so it's more of a Super Bowl of Army events. It's a year-long process whereas soldiers start at the unit level and get boarded and go through different competitions and then they move to their battalion brigade division and then their major command will select the best soldier and NCO for that major command.
The level of realism in the various challenges, Sargeant Green noted, comes from battlefield experience.
Green: We're integrating all the lessons learned from combat, our training developers there in CASCOM; all our instructors we have at the advanced leader courses, signal leader courses and senior officer courses we have. We also have our tenant unit and a FORCECOM unit that just had units returned from combat to insure that what we're doing is realistic and current.
On Friday at 4:30 am, the final challenge is called a “mystery event” requiring them to be able to react, adapt and overcome a situation quickly and decisively. The Mystery Event is designed to see how well the Warriors can think on their feet while under both physical and mental stress. The Soldier and Non-commissioned Officer of the Year will receive prestigious honors and cash awards in recognition of their achievements and they’ll represent the Army at special events throughout the year.
Green: They become the face of the Army, of what a non-commissioned officer and a soldier should be, know and do.
And they teach what they’ve learned.
Green: To get relevant training, take that back to their major command and get disseminated throughout that major command down to division, brigade, battalion, unit and to the actual combat soldier that is actually deploying.
The winners will be announced at a ceremony in Washington on Monday.
John Ogle, WCVE News