Army's Best Warrior competition underway
October 20, 2010
FORT LEE, Va., (Army News Service, Oct. 20, 2010) -- The Army's top Soldiers are half way through the week-long Best Warrior Competition, which will determine the titles for both Army Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
Best Warrior, being held at Fort Lee, Va., Oct. 18-22, tests the physical and mental toughness of two Soldiers from each of the Army's 12 major commands.
This year's events include board interviews, a weapons qualification range, a written exam, a physical fitness test and warrior battle drills.
Wednesday was focused on Urban Warfare Orienteering, with both day and night courses to complete. During the day, each competitor with a supporting NCO, was tasked to find four points on a land navigation course using a Defense Advanced GPS Receiver. The Soldiers also encountered role-playing civilians along their route who pointed them to their next location and ultimately to their goal: a weapons cache.
Staff Sgt. Loren Gernandt, a topographic analyst representing U.S. Army Forces Command, was one of the first Soldiers to complete the orienteering course coming in at just under one hour and 30 minutes.
"I feel alright," Gernandt said, three days into the competition. "I don't know exactly where I stand yet, but anyone here is more than capable of winning the title. I'm sure the sergeant major of the Army will pick the most qualified Soldiers."
Gernandt completed six other lower-level competitions earlier this year, coming out on top of each, to make it to Best Warrior, and has been continuously competing since February.
"I'm just honored to be here," the Fort Bragg Soldier said. "It's a humbling experience."
The noncommissioned officer in charge of the competition, 1st Sgt. LaDerek Green of the Combined Arms Support Command, explained that each year Army leaders try to bring in new and different events, relevant to combat operations worldwide.
"It gives us as an Army the opportunity to showcase the skills of our Soldiers," Green said. "Not just within the Army, but also to the American people."
Green explained that many of the events are multi-faceted and require the Soldiers to think on their feet, often adapting to unexpected scenarios.
"It tests the critical-thinking skills and abilities of the competitors, so they can become more effective leaders," Green said, noting that he hopes the Soldiers will take what they've learned back to their units.
Best Warrior winners will be announced during a luncheon hosted by the sergeant major of the Army Oct. 25 at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. Soldiers selected as winners will then represent the Army at key events throughout the year.
To learn more about the competition, visit <a href="http://www.army.mil/bestwarrior/2010/">www.army.mil/bestwarrior</a>.