FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 25, 2013) -- The Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition concluded Friday, at Fort Lee, with the announcement of the top Soldiers and Non-commissioned Officers.
The 2013 Department of the Army Non-commissioned Officer of the Year is Sgt. 1st Class Jason J. Manella, assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve Command. The 2013 Department of the Army Soldier of the Year is Spc. Adam Christensen, assigned to the U.S. Army Pacific Command.
Manella, a Civil Affairs Specialist from Fremont, Calif., is currently serving in B Company, 445th Civil Affairs Battalion, Mountain View, Calif. In his ten years in the Army, he has deployed three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
Christensen, a Military Policeman from Las Vegas, Nev., is currently assigned to the 472nd Military Police Company, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. He joined the Army two years ago and hopes to eventually serve in the Special Forces Command.
The second and third place NCO winners are Staff Sgt. Cory M. Schmidt, assigned to U.S. Army Forces Command; and Staff Sgt. De Gosh Reed, assigned to U.S. Army Pacific Command, respectively. The second and third place Soldier winners are Spc. Mitchell R. Fromm, assigned to U.S. Army Reserve Command; and Spc. Michael Sands, assigned to Military District of Washington, respectively.
Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John F. Campbell and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Ray Chandler presented the awards to this year's winners in front of an audience that included Army leaders, family members and others supporters. The competitors, representing more than 600,000 Soldiers from 12 Army major commands, were tested over three days in areas such as Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills; an Army Physical Fitness Test; a written exam and essay; a command sergeant major appearance board; land navigation; weapons qualification; and two mystery events.
In an Army interview at the beginning of the competition, Manella said, "Being named Non-commissioned Officer of the Year would be a tremendous honor not only for me, but also for the Army Reserve component. Winning amongst the entire Army, including the active duty and National Guard, proves all Soldiers are competent no matter which component they belong to or train in."
When asked why he wanted to take part in this competition, Christensen said, "I've always had the desire to participate and see just what I'm capable of. I like being around other Soldiers with that same attitude -- competing at this level, finding our weaknesses and strengths and always striving to improve and be better. This competition is especially exciting because of its all-encompassing nature. My motivation to be there is to meet the best the Army has to offer, learn, and win."
Soldiers who begin the competition in the ranks of private through specialist vie for Soldier of the Year, and those in the ranks of corporal through sergeant first class vie for NCO of the Year.
With their victories, Manella and Christensen will represent the U.S. Army at official Army ceremonies and community events throughout the next year.
For additional information about the competitors and the competition, visit www.army.mil/bestwarrior.