• U.S. Army Sgt. Jared Jackson, a property book Noncommissioned officer in charge, assigned to 83rd Ordnance Battalion plots a land navigation point during the U.S. Army Japan's Warrior Challenge Competition at Camp Hansen's Training Area 5 in Okinawa, Japan, April 24, 2013. Jackson was one of 14 Soldiers from mainland Japan and Okinawa who competed to be named Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year, held April 21-25 at Okinawa, Japan. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Howard Reed/Released)

    Soldiers earn top honors as USARJ's best

    U.S. Army Sgt. Jared Jackson, a property book Noncommissioned officer in charge, assigned to 83rd Ordnance Battalion plots a land navigation point during the U.S. Army Japan's Warrior Challenge Competition at Camp Hansen's Training Area 5 in Okinawa...

  • Sgt. Avery Cody, a bass player assigned to the U.S. Army Japan Band, demonstrates a combatives technique during USARJ's Warrior Challenge Competition April 23rd at Torii Station's Fitness Center field. The 14 soldiers from mainland Japan and Okinawa competed to be named Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year April 22-25 on Okinawa, Japan.

    Soldiers earn top honors as USARJ's best

    Sgt. Avery Cody, a bass player assigned to the U.S. Army Japan Band, demonstrates a combatives technique during USARJ's Warrior Challenge Competition April 23rd at Torii Station's Fitness Center field. The 14 soldiers from mainland Japan and Okinawa...

  • Sgt. Andrew Majors, a military police officer assigned to the 247th Military Police Company, stretches for one final push-up as Staff Sgt. Carlos Pagan, an APFT grader assigned to HHC 10th Regional Support Group, looks on. Majors, an Arcadia, Ind., native, was one of 14 soldiers from mainland Japan and Okinawa who competed to be named U.S. Army Japan's top Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year April 22-25 on Okinawa, Japan .

    Soldiers earn top honors as USARJ's best

    Sgt. Andrew Majors, a military police officer assigned to the 247th Military Police Company, stretches for one final push-up as Staff Sgt. Carlos Pagan, an APFT grader assigned to HHC 10th Regional Support Group, looks on. Majors, an Arcadia, Ind...

  • An U.S. Army Japan soldier competing in USARJ's Warrior Challenge Competition plots a land navigation point during urban orienteering at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 14 soldiers from mainland and Okinawa competed to be named USARJ's Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year.

    Soldiers earn top honors as USARJ's best

    An U.S. Army Japan soldier competing in USARJ's Warrior Challenge Competition plots a land navigation point during urban orienteering at Kadena Air Base, Japan. The 14 soldiers from mainland and Okinawa competed to be named USARJ's Noncommissioned...

  • Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Payton, center, command sergeant major for U.S. Army Japan, coaches Sgt. Andrew Majors, a military police officer assigned to the 247th MP Company, during USARJ's Warrior Challenge Competition April 23 at Camp Hansen's Range 17. The 14 soldiers from mainland Japan and Okinawa competed to be named Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year April 22-25 on Okinawa, Japan.

    Soldiers earn top honors as USARJ's best

    Command Sgt. Maj. Steven Payton, center, command sergeant major for U.S. Army Japan, coaches Sgt. Andrew Majors, a military police officer assigned to the 247th MP Company, during USARJ's Warrior Challenge Competition April 23 at Camp Hansen's Range...

  • U.S. Soldiers competing during the physical fitness test of the U.S. Army Japan's Warrior Challenge, take off at the start of the two-mile run event at Kadena's Risner Fitness Center in Okinawa, Japan, April 23, 2013. The 14 Soldiers assigned in mainland Japan and Okinawa competed during April 22-25, to be named Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Howard Reed/Released)

    Soldiers earn top honors as USARJ's best

    U.S. Soldiers competing during the physical fitness test of the U.S. Army Japan's Warrior Challenge, take off at the start of the two-mile run event at Kadena's Risner Fitness Center in Okinawa, Japan, April 23, 2013. The 14 Soldiers assigned in...

  • U.S. Army Col. Sheila Bryant, center, the commander of the 10th Regional Support Group, pins the Army Commendation Medal on Spc. Mara E. Snowman, right, during the Warrior Challenge Competition closing ceremony at Torii Station's Training Support Center in Okinawa, Japan, April 25, 2013. Snowman, a euphonium player assigned to the U.S. Army Japan Band was selected as U.S. Army Japan's Soldier of the Year. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. 1st Class Howard Reed/Released)

    Soldiers earn top honors as USARJ's best

    U.S. Army Col. Sheila Bryant, center, the commander of the 10th Regional Support Group, pins the Army Commendation Medal on Spc. Mara E. Snowman, right, during the Warrior Challenge Competition closing ceremony at Torii Station's Training Support...

  • Sgt. Matthew Early, a tech control supervisor for the 33rd Signal Company, 78th Signal Battalion, executes marching movements as board members look on during the U.S. Army Japan Warrior Challenge Competition board April 25 at Torii Station's Training Support Center. The 14 soldiers from mainland Japan and Okinawa competed to be named Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year April 22-25 on Okinawa, Japan.

    Soldiers earn top honors as USARJ's best

    Sgt. Matthew Early, a tech control supervisor for the 33rd Signal Company, 78th Signal Battalion, executes marching movements as board members look on during the U.S. Army Japan Warrior Challenge Competition board April 25 at Torii Station's Training...

OKINAWA, Japan - The 14 soldiers from mainland Japan and Okinawa displayed their warrior skills and talents to see who would be named U.S. Army Japan Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year during USARJ's Warrior Challenge competition April 22-25 on Okinawa, Japan.

Command Sgt. Maj. Steven L. Payton, command sergeant major for USARJ, explained the competition allowed competing soldiers to display their warrior spirit.

"The energy for a competition of this magnitude definitely brings out the best in every soldier." said Payton. "The esprit de' corps and the sharing of knowledge exuded in a competition like this by our soldiers speaks volumes to who they are and they truly represent the "ichi-dan," or one team spirit, as a member of a team of great solders in our formations across Japan."

During the four-day competition soldiers endured both physical and mental stamina to conquer events like urban orienteering, day and night land navigation, warrior tasks, weapons qualification with reflexive firing and a physical fitness test.

In addition to attending a board soldiers had to take a written exam that included writing and an essay. The event proved to test each soldier's mental and physical stability and endurance during the competition.

At the end of the competition only two soldiers were chosen as USARJ's best Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year.

Staff Sgt. Ian T. Munkacsy, an operations noncommissioned officer assigned to USARJ's special troops battalion, was selected as the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Spc. Mara E. Snowman, a bandsmen assigned to USARJ's band, was selected as Soldier of Year.

For Snowman the competition proved to be rewarding yet bittersweet for the Cleveland, Tenn., native. On day two of the competition she received notice of the passing of her grandmother.

"It was really hard but I let it motivate me to work harder." said Snowman. "I know she would have wanted me to compete and give my best effort."

Both Munkacsy and Snowman will represent USARJ during the U.S. Army Pacific's Warrior Challenge Competition mid June.

Page last updated Mon May 20th, 2013 at 01:46