• Sgt. David Martin, a chaplain's assistant for Grafenwoehr's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, completes two minutes worth of pushups during the Army Physical Fitness Test portion of the Best Warrior Competition at the Grafenwoehr Physical Fitness Center, March 19.

    Pushing limits

    Sgt. David Martin, a chaplain's assistant for Grafenwoehr's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, completes two minutes worth of pushups during the Army Physical Fitness Test portion of the Best Warrior Competition at the Grafenwoehr Physical Fitness...

  • Sgt. David Martin, a chaplain's assistant for USAG Grafenwoehr's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, administers aid to a wounded Soldier, played by Sgt. Everett Ryder, Grafenwoehr's HHC, during the Warrior Task Battle Drill section of the SOY/NOY competition, March 19.

    Administering aid

    Sgt. David Martin, a chaplain's assistant for USAG Grafenwoehr's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, administers aid to a wounded Soldier, played by Sgt. Everett Ryder, Grafenwoehr's HHC, during the Warrior Task Battle Drill section of the SOY/NOY...

  • Participants of the 2013 Bavaria Military Community Best Warrior Competition push their limits while doing sit-ups during an Army Physical Fitness Test, March 19.

    Sitting up

    Participants of the 2013 Bavaria Military Community Best Warrior Competition push their limits while doing sit-ups during an Army Physical Fitness Test, March 19.

  • Spc. Shannon Hatcher, a military police officer stationed in Garmisch, dons a protective mask during the Warrior Task Battle Drill section of the SOY/NOY competition, March 19.

    Donning the mask

    Spc. Shannon Hatcher, a military police officer stationed in Garmisch, dons a protective mask during the Warrior Task Battle Drill section of the SOY/NOY competition, March 19.

  • Spc. Shannon Hatcher, a military police officer stationed in Garmisch, runs 22 laps around on the track at the Grafenwoehr Physical Fitness Center during the Army Physical Fitness Test portion of the Best Warrior Competition, March 19.

    Running Warrior

    Spc. Shannon Hatcher, a military police officer stationed in Garmisch, runs 22 laps around on the track at the Grafenwoehr Physical Fitness Center during the Army Physical Fitness Test portion of the Best Warrior Competition, March 19.

  • Sgt. David Martin, a chaplain's assistant for Grafenwoehr's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, explains M-16 weapons maintenance as part of the Best Warrior Competition, March 18.

    Gun talk

    Sgt. David Martin, a chaplain's assistant for Grafenwoehr's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, explains M-16 weapons maintenance as part of the Best Warrior Competition, March 18.

  • Spc. Shannon Hatcher, a military police officer stationed in Garmisch, and Sgt. David Martin, a chaplain's assistant for Grafenwoehr's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, fire simulated M-16s during the engagement skills portion of the 2013 BMC SOY/NCOY competition, March 18.

    Engaging skills

    Spc. Shannon Hatcher, a military police officer stationed in Garmisch, and Sgt. David Martin, a chaplain's assistant for Grafenwoehr's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, fire simulated M-16s during the engagement skills portion of the 2013 BMC...

VILSECK, Germany -- Judging by the first round of the 2013 NCO And Soldier of the Year Best Warrior Competition, here, March 18, having fewer competitors didn't make it any easier.

Lying in prone position with a simulated M-16 positioned in their grip, Spc. Shannon Hatcher, a military police officer stationed in Garmisch, and Sgt. David Martin, a chaplain's assistant for U.S. Army Garrison Grafenwoehr's Headquarters and Headquarters Company, attempted to shoot five out of six rounds within a four-centimeter circle. The screen at the Engagement Skills Trainer on Rose Barracks simulated a shooting range complete with sounds from the battlefield.

While Martin breezed through the first round of shots, Hatcher struggled.

"Weapons are tough, everyone has good days and bad days of shooting," said Hatcher.

She redeemed herself in the following rapid-fire round by outshooting Martin.

"I just had to get focused and find my zone," she said.

Hatcher and Martin are the only two Soldiers competing for the Bavaria Military Community Soldier and NCO of the Year, respectively; however, their win was not in the bag, according to 1st Sgt. James Yuras of USAG Grafenwoehr's HHC.

"They have to prove they have talent to succeed, that they have taken the time to study and prepare themselves for what is to come," said Yuras.

And after three grueling days of physical and mental challenges, they did.

For Martin, there was no other choice.

"Professionally, you don't fail, you don't set out to fail, it's not an option," he said. "But it's not just me on display. I represent my unit, so if I do a poor job representing myself, I do a poor job representing my unit."

During the local competition, Martin and Hatcher put their best boots forward as they hiked 12 miles carrying a 35-pound rucksack, endured a grueling Army Physical Fitness Test, dissected an M-16 and laid their abilities on the mat during a combatives match.

While they were physically fit for the challenges, nothing could have prepared them for the mental peril of the final round of competition: the selection board.

Impeccably dressed in their service uniforms, each stood before a selection board consisting of four senior enlisted leaders who drilled them on Army policy and current events.

"When it comes to boards you either know it or you don't," said Martin. "It's important for me to prove that I've prepared for this."

When confronting the board, thinking positive was Hatcher's only weapon.

"I was chosen for this competition for a reason, hopefully for a good reason," she said.

Hatcher proved worthy to enter the next round, representing the BMC for the Installation Management Command Europe's Soldier of the Year in the Best Warrior Competition to be held in Bamberg next month. Martin will join her, vying for NCO of the Year against garrisons across Europe.

For both, challenges lay ahead.

"The competition only gets tougher from here," said Yuras. "The next regional competition represents the best of the best."

Page last updated Mon March 25th, 2013 at 00:00