Eighth Army recognizes best warrior winners, finalists
(From the left) Cpl. Lee Dong-hoon, Sgt. Randy Gray Jr. and Spc. James Holmes are the Eighth U.S. Army winners in the 2009 best warrior competition.

U.S. ARMY GARRISON-YONGSAN, Korea - In the presence of many leaders, a luncheon was held June 26 to congratulate the 2009 Best Warrior competition winners and finalists at the Naija Ballroom on Yongsan Garrison.

"There can be no doubt that all of the competitors are truly warriors," said Command Sgt. Maj. Robert Winzenried, command sergeant major of Command Forces Command, U.S. Forces Korea and Eighth U.S. Army. "In my opinion, they are all winners and I think they will agree they learned a lot about themselves during this competition."

Out of 21 finalists, only three were named best warrior of the year.

Sgt. Randy Gray Jr., signal intelligence analyst from 1st Brigade Special Troops Battalion; Spc. James Holmes, Patriot crewmember from 35th Air Defense Artillery; and Cpl. Lee Dong-hoon, an infantryman from Theater Air, Naval and Ground Operations Security Force, were awarded as the noncommissioned officer, Soldier and Korean Augmentation to the United States Army Best Warrior Award, respectively.

"I signed up because I heard there was going to be a competition to select the best KATUSA on the peninsula and I wanted to be the best KATUSA to represent Eighth Army," said Lee about his motivation to participate in the competition.

The five-day competition consisted of an Army physical fitness test, written exam, essay, hands-on warrior tasks, M4 rifle qualification, day and night land navigation, a mystery event, a board appearance and an enduring road march.

"We started the road march just giving them the route they had to follow but gave them no idea of how long it would be. This was a trust test of their inner strength to be best," said Winzenried.

"The toughest challenge among the competition was the road march, but hard work is always rewarded by the Army. It's a prestigious feeling to be the best of the best and it is a great honor to be selected as the Soldier of the Year," said Spc. Holmes, who was motivated by his squad leader, Staff Sgt. Khristan Brading, a former winner of the best warrior competition.

The best warrior finalists will represent the 8th United States Army at the Army-level competition in September.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16