US Army Japan identifies its best of the best!
May 6, 2014
By James Tamura
TORII STATION, Japan - Twelve Soldiers from Okinawa and mainland Japan test their warrior and soldiering skills in hopes of being named U.S. Army Japan Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year during USARJ's Warrior Challenge Competition April 22-25 on Okinawa, Japan.
"This competition is meant to test the physical, mental abilities and endurance of the competitors with the use of real-time scenarios," said Command Sgt. Maj. Shelton R. Williamson, 10th Regional Support Group.
During the four day competition, Soldiers faced a physical fitness test, land navigation courses, warrior tasks and battle drills, combatives, night orienteering, rifle marksmanship, written examinations, an essay and a review board.
At the end of the week only two Soldiers were identified as the best of the best.
Sgt. Andrew Majors, who hails from Arcadia, Indiana, and is assigned to the 247th Military Police Detachment, won the USARJ Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Spc. Shonnie Almeida, a native of McDonough, Georgia, who is assigned as a satellite communications systems operator-maintainer, with the 333rd Signal Company, 78th Signal Battalion, won the USARJ Soldier of the Year.
"It felt great to win. With our demanding work schedule, most of my training was conducted on my own time," explained Majors. "I always learn something from each board competition by bouncing ideas off other top NCOs, how they handled different scenarios, how they train and their goals in the military. It makes you a more competent leader."
"It was a truly humbling experience to win this competition," said Almeida. "Simply knowing that I was competing with the best Soldiers throughout USARJ was an intimidating thought which made me even more grateful to have won in the end. This competition tested every threshold of my physical and mental capabilities to an extent that I wasn't accustomed. Even though we were competing against one another, the NCOs and Soldiers still encouraged each other to stay strong and try harder throughout every task. It makes me realize how fortunate I am to serve alongside such high caliber Soldiers."
This noncommissioned officer and Soldier will represent USARJ during the U.S. Army Pacific's Warrior Challenge Competition in June.