Army soldiers compete for title of 'Best Warrior'
CAMP RIPLEY — Nine Minnesota Army National Guard Soldiers competed in the 2014 Minnesota National Guard Best Warrior Competition April 9-13, 2014.
Each soldier and noncommissioned officer from the five major Army National Guard organizations within the state of Minnesota were selected by their leadership for their tactical and technical skills.
“Warriors selected to compete for these prestigious titles have mastered a series of benchmarks throughout the year to qualify for the Minnesota National Guard Best Warrior Competition,” said Army Command Sgt. Maj. Cynthia Kallberg.
While competition standards encourage the warriors to push themselves physically, the increased conditions of each event demands patience, composure and mental agility.
An Army fitness test, written exam, essay and appearance board were part of the first day’s events, which challenged the aptitude of each competitor.
“Training to be physically tough is difficult but can be achieved with the help of others — mental and emotional toughness is something that has to be achieved individually,” said Command Sgt. Maj. John M. Lepowsky, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team Command Sergeant Major.
Other warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today’s operating environment included conquering urban and wilderness terrain. Soldiers engaged in warfare simulations and general soldier tasks such as marksmanship, first aid, communication and survival training.
“It was very challenging both physically and mentally,” said Sgt. Anthony Sparrow, materials handler with the USP&FO Warehouse on Camp Ripley. “My basic strategy for success was to keep my head up, have fun with it and take away as much as I could.”
Kallberg, as Minnesota National Guard senior enlisted advisor, oversaw the annual competition. She awarded Staff Sgt. Michael Walker of the 134th Brigade Support Battalion, 34th Infantry Division, and Spc. Corbin Routier of the 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team as the Minnesota Army National Guard Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year.
Camp Ripley will host the Region IV Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition May 11, 2014.