Best Warrior competition strengthens Alaska Army National Guard unit
December 29, 2010
FORT GREELY, Alaska -- Six Alaska Army National Guardsmen proved their discipline and proficiency in their warrior tasks during the 49th Missile Defense Battalion Best Warrior competition here last month.
The Best Warrior competition is designed to test the physical and mental toughness of each participant and to identify the best Soldier and noncommissioned officer in the unit.
Although the two prestigious titles were on the line, the Soldiers assigned to 2nd Platoon, A Company, 49th Missile Defense Battalion, worked together to overcome each challenge during the event.
"Everyone is motivating each other," said Sgt. Christopher Thomas, one of the NCO participants. "It's not so much of an individual competition but a chance to see everyone excel in something different."
The Soldiers, also known as the "Hell Raisers," filled the atmosphere with camaraderie and teamwork, while demonstrating how a healthy competition can strengthen a unit.
"I believe heavy competition brings an esprit de corps that you can't reach without out it," said Sgt. 1st Class Maureen Meehan, 2nd Platoon, A Company, 49th MDB platoon sergeant. "The Soldiers have a daily mission that has a strict routine. This changes that routine up and brings back their warrior spirit and a healthy drive to compete against each other but also in turn make each other better."
Meehan said that she was extremely proud of her Soldiers for volunteering to participate in the event and for motivating themselves to train on their free time and during mission.
"Since the Missile Defense Complex operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, the Soldiers faced a unique challenge while training for the competition," said Command Sgt. Maj. Bradford Quigley, 49th MDB.
The challenge was overcome with a strategic balance between the mission and training for the event.
"We set this up to be a premier event," said Quigley. "We wanted this to be as challenging as possible, so once they win here they know what they need to work on and have the confidence going on to the next round."
During the competition, the Soldiers were faced with challenges that included a written exam, physical fitness tests, drill and ceremony, board interviews, weapons familiarization, a shooting evaluation and warrior tasks such as evaluating a casualty and land navigation.
The Soldiers also completed a strenuous five-mile march with full rucksacks, where they combated arctic snow, wind and temperatures well below freezing.
Spc. Ernesto Ventura was named the "Best Soldier" and Sgt. Christopher Thomas was named the "Best Noncommissioned Officer."