Division East squeaks past Division West for First Army Best Warrior honors
July 22, 2014
CAMP SHELBY, Miss. - On a muggy Mississippi morning, the First Army Best Warrior Competition starts with a bang. Under the bright lights of the softball complex, two Soldiers prepare for the first event in the competition, the Army Physical Fitness Test. Over the next three grueling days, Sgt. 1st Class Bryan R. Morrow and Sgt. 1st Class James K. Rogers II will test their mettle in events designed to evaluate their skills and knowledge and determine who will emerge as the best noncommissioned officer in First Army.
Rogers, 1st-307th Infantry Regiment, 174th Infantry Brigade, represented First Army's Division East, while Morrow, 1st-310th Infantry Regiment, 181st Infantry Brigade, represented Division West, in the competition, held July 8-10.
Competitors were challenged and evaluated in many areas, including a combat survival water test, marksmanship, first aid, weapons, land navigation and combatives. The competition also included a written test of the NCOs' knowledge of the U.S. Army, history and current world events, as well as an essay on a military subject chosen by First Army command sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Sam K. Young. The final event was a board appearance in front of five command sergeants major.
The competition was run by the First Army Academy at Camp Shelby.
"We are impartial, as we do not have a competitor in the competition," said Sgt. 1st Class Felix D. DiazCortes, assistant operations sergeant for the Academy and noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the competition. "We also have highly trained cadre that train Soldiers every day on the tasks and equipment that will be used in the competition."
Throughout the competition, the lead went back and forth, with never more than 10 points separating the two NCOs. After three hard and long days, the competitors were mentally drained and physically exhausted.
"This was one of the tightest competitions that I have been involved with," Young said. "In my eyes, both are winners. Just making it this far is a great accomplishment."
With just one point to spare, Rogers took the title of 2014 First Army Best Warrior. He will represent First Army at the U.S. Forces Command Best Warrior Competition next month.