By Sgt. Brandon Banzhaf
3rd BCT PAO, 1st Cav. Div.

FORT HOOD, Texas -- With rucksacks on their backs and sweat dripping down their faces, Soldiers pushed themselves in order to be identified as the best.

Task after task, Soldiers were graded on their performance and compared with the other teams striving to claim the prestige associated with being the top performer.

About 600 Soldiers with the 2nd Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, conducted a "best by test" competition Aug. 15 through 20 at Fort Hood to measure excellence across the field artillery battalion. The top teams received Army Achievement Medals and guidon streamers to display their success.

"We wanted to put a little bit of rigor into this exercise to put a little stress, to see how Soldiers operate over a long period of time," said 2-82nd FA battalion commander Lt. Col. Ryan McCormack, a Ridge, New York, native. "At the end of the day, what happens is we come together, we compete, and we appreciate each other and really build some camaraderie and teamwork."