FORT EUSTIS, Va. -- After a week of challenging competition, the command responsible for training the Army chose its best Soldiers during the 2014 Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year ceremony here, Aug. 8.

U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command named Sgt. 1st Class David Smith, representing U.S. Army Cadet Command, Fort Knox, Kentucky, as TRADOC's 2014 NCO of the Year and Spc. Joshua Roberts, representing the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, was named TRADOC's Soldier of the year.

Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Dailey, TRADOC's command sergeant major and ceremony host, said the competition provided an opportunity to spend time with the best of the best.

"It is an absolute pleasure to spend time with the quality we have in this room … you truly represent your commands, and I am extremely proud to have spent a week with you and watch you perform," he said.

The performance, a weeklong competition packed with various tasks, ranging from a 12-mile road march to a "stress shoot," was physically and mentally challenging, day in and day out, according to TRADOC's NCO of the Year.

"You were physically pushed to your limits, and mentally --having all of the steps to your warrior tasks and battle drills while you're being physically challenged -- it was tough, absolutely tough," said Smith, a senior military instructor at the University of North Georgia.

Roberts, who currently serves as the executive assistant for the MSCoE command sergeant major, said the variety of events -- including an unexpected "stress shoot," where competitors had to practice field medical aid on a simulated casualty, dragging it 200 meters to safety all while under fire, kept competitors on their toes.

"It was a complete surprise for us," Roberts said. "We just thought we were going to a zero range and we were going to qualify with pop-ups."

TRADOC's Soldier of the Year said the broad range of tasks made the competition interesting.
"We went from shooting to a stress shoot going straight into (nuclear, biological, chemical) operations, and then we got thrown into teaching a foreign national how to tear apart and put together a weapons system that they had never seen before," Roberts said.

Although the days were challenging, Smith said the NCOs displayed exceptional professionalism and teamwork during the competition.

"We had such a great group of NCOs," he said. "At night, we all would just help each other before the next day's events, so the competitors were working with each other to help each other."
In addition to helping one another, Smith said the NCOs and Soldiers within the competition provided something even more valuable.

"Coming here and competing with these noncommissioned officers and Soldiers -- it reenergizes you and motivates you to be the best Soldier you can possibly be."

Smith and Roberts will represent TRADOC at the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition in October at Fort Lee, Virginia.