08/13/2019 | By Spc. Juarez 104th Training Division
The victors of 2nd Brigade were Sgt. Justin Standifer, a 11B Infantryman with 2nd of the 397th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 104th Division (LT) winning Drill Sergeant of the Year, Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin J. Parrish Sr., a 42A Human Resource Specialist with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 317th Infantry Regiment, earning the title of Noncommissioned officer of the Year and Spec. Kevin Caladie, a 13R Field Artillery fire finder radar operator with Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion 304th Infantry Regiment being named Soldier of the Year.
Soldiers in support of the competition had great enthusiasm to host this year’s events.
“While we, the 4/399th are here to evaluate the Best Warrior Competition it is great to see Soldiers get the opportunity to practice and execute their warrior skills,” explained Master Sgt. Glenn Hance, Senior Noncommissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of the 4/399th, Fort Knox, Kentucky, who has hosted the BWC for three years. “It is great to see Soldiers push their bodies and tap into the mental state of pushing forward.” he said.
Noncommissioned officers, senior and junior alike, from across the 104th Division (LT) hosted and facilitated this year’s BWC. “Hosting these events encourages all Soldiers to test themselves and compete to the highest standard and continue to succeed” said Hance.
The Best Warrior Competition consisted of several events which evaluated mental and physical abilities.
The events which tested mental abilities consisted of drill and ceremony, land navigation (day and night), weapons familiarization, 50-question test, and a Sergeants Major board covering Army policies and programs.
The events which tested physical abilities of the Soldiers consisted of the new Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), 12-mile ruck march, and obstacle course. Several basic warrior tasks and drills that all Soldiers train on to remain proficient were also evaluated, to include first aid, radio communications, and medevac.
Soldiers were surprised to utilize untapped skills, especially after being exposed to austere training conditions during some of these obstacles.
“I was surprised to finish the land navigation course and be thrown directly into rendering first aid and calling in a 9-line medevac.” said Staff Sgt. Matthew Roy, A company 2/397th, Richmond, Kentucky. “It made me realize how my Army training has prepared me to be reactive and remain focused and utilize skills I haven’t used in a while.” he explained.
Leaders at the Best Warrior Competition wanted to reiterate that although challenging, it is a learning experience and helps leaders grow.
“These are Soldiers coming to this competition to compete in tasks that are tied together, these are basic skill sets that allow them to set themselves apart from one another,” explained Command Sergeant Major Tod Kaim, command sergeant major of 1st Brigade (PD), Aurora, Colorado. “They also leave here with a sense of confidence to perform with and train future Soldiers and Cadets, and all of these tasks will challenge the Soldiers and push them to the limit.”
The winners of this competition will advance to the 108th Training Command competition held April 8-13 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
Once there, the 1st and 2nd Brigade winners will battle not only for the title of 104th Division Best Warrior, but will also compete against the 95th Training Division (IET) and 98th Training Division (IET), for the title of 108th Training Command Soldier, Best Warrior, or Drill Sergeant of the Year.