ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Four Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army Sustainment Command put their skills, stamina and knowledge to the test this week during ASC's 2014 Best Warrior Competition.

The competition was held at Rock Island Arsenal, Ill., home to ASC Headquarters. It began when competitors checked in at 5 a.m. on Monday morning, June 23, and ended with an awards breakfast held at the RIA Golf Club on June 26.

At the breakfast, two Best Warrior winners were announced. Staff Sgt. Kevin A. Hopson was named as ASC'S NCO of the Year, a competition that was open to all ASC Soldiers in grades / ranks E-4 (Corporal) through E-7 (Sergeant First Class). A native of North Powder, Ore., Hopson has served in the Army since 2005 and has been deployed both to Iraq and Afghanistan. He presently serves as the Force Protection NCO at ASC Headquarters.

Pfc. Davonta T. Colflesh of the 403rd Army Field Support Brigade in Daegu, Korea, was named as ASC's Soldier of the Year, a competition that was open to all ASC Soldiers in grades / ranks E-1 (Private) through E-4 (Specialist). A native of Lufkin, Texas, Colflesh has been in the Army since January 2013 and presently serves with the brigade as a transportation counselor.

The two other competitors were Sgt. Ashley V. Collo, also of the 403rd AFSB, and Sgt. 1st Class Cornelius J. Goodwin, a Materiel Management NCO in ASC's Distribution Management Center on Rock Island Arsenal.

Colflesh and Hopson will go on to the Best Warrior Competition held by the U.S. Army Materiel Command, ASC's higher headquarters. Rock Island Arsenal will be the site of AMC's competition, which takes place July 28-31.

Winners at the AMC level will go on to compete at the Army-wide Best Warrior competition, scheduled for October.

Along with being presented an Army Commendation Medal and award plaque, Colflesh and Hopson were presented with certificates of commendation and $200 gift certificates to the Post Exchange by Jeff Carr, president of the Rock Island Chapter of the Association of the U.S. Army. Carr also presented the winners with free AUSA memberships.

Command Sgt. Maj. James E. Spencer, ASC's top-ranking NCO, presided at the awards breakfast. Spencer remarked that the four Soldiers had been "fully engaged" during the competition.

"These past 48 hours were pretty intense," he said. "We challenged them constantly, and prepared them to compete at the next level.

"These two great Soldiers are going to represent our Command well," Spencer said.

The ASC Best Warrior competition began with a weigh-in and check-in at the Arsenal's orderly room, where the Soldiers received all the gear they would need during the next three days. The Soldiers and their sponsors learned more about the competition at a kick-off reception held that afternoon at the RIA Golf Club.

Bright and early the next morning, the four competitors completed the Army Physical Fitness Test, which includes two minutes of push-ups and two minutes of sit-ups, followed immediately by a two-mile run.

The Soldiers then changed into the Army Service Uniform for an appearance before a board headed by Spencer. The morning also included a 50-question exam testing general military knowledge, and completion of an essay on a topic unknown to the competitors until they sat down for the test.

Later that day, the Soldiers competed in urban orienteering, where they were required to find various checkpoints on the Arsenal using only a map. Competitors were tested in both day and night orienteering, and the night-time phase did not conclude until almost midnight.

At 5 a.m. the following day, the competitors reported to RIA's indoor rifle range for a test of marksmanship. For the remainder of Wednesday, they were tested on various Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills.

Competitors were taken through a realistic Situational Training Exercise which included moving under direct fire; moving through and around obstacles; encountering civilians and searching vehicles while staffing a checkpoint; hand-to-hand combat; and evaluating, administering aid to, and evacuating casualties.

The event also included a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear station, where the competitors donned protective gear and decontaminated themselves and their equipment, and a station where competitors were tested on their ability to reassemble weapons that had been taken apart.

Since the modern battlefield includes the information sphere, the four competitors were tested at a media station, where they did live interviews with media role players. This took place on a day when local media were invited to cover the Best Warrior competition.

Additional photos of the ASC BWC are available for viewing and downloading at:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/army_sustainment_command/collections/72157645343865384/