Army Chief of Staff visits Fort Lee
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Support Soldiers from the 2014 Best Warrior Competition give feedback to Gen. Ray Odierno, Army chief of staff, during his tour of Fort Lee, Va., Oct. 9, 2014. The general walked through a Best Warrior Competition test site where competitors were dem... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Army Chief of Staff visits Fort Lee
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno listens to a Best Warrior Competition event briefing from Sgt. 1st Class Eric Morris, non-commissioned officer-in-charge of the Combined Arms Support Command Warrior Training Center, Oct. 9, 2014, at a Fort Lee, V... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Army Chief of Staff visits Fort Lee
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno chats with Staff Sgt. Jacob West, who represented 3rd Infantry Regiment (Old Guard), during the 2014 Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee, Va. Odierno toured one of the Best Warrior Competition test sites, Oct. 9,... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 10, 2014) -- Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno paid a visit to Fort Lee yesterday, to get a first-hand look at the annual Best Warrior Competition.

The first stop on his itinerary was a Best Warrior Competition testing site where competitors were demonstrating their ability to lead troops while overcoming obstacles like transporting filled fuel cans across a rope bridge. He wandered throughout the area, taking the time to thank event coordinators and evaluators, the support staff and, most importantly, the competing Soldiers.

Odierno was accompanied by Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III, whose office sponsors the annual competition, as well as Maj. Gen. Stephen Lyons, Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee commanding general, and Command Sgt. Maj. Terry Parham Sr., CASCOM senior enlisted adviser.

Twenty-eight individuals representing 14 Army commands vied for the titles of NCO and Soldier of the Year during the four-day competition. In addition to the "leaders reaction course" that Odierno observed, the Best Warrior Competition events included the Army Physical Fitness Test, weapons ranges, mystery tasks, and warrior task and battle drill lanes where the candidates demonstrated their knowledge and ability to perform combat survival skills.

The competition concluded with an awards ceremony at Fort Lee, which was streamed live online.

"Thanks for doing this," Odierno said often, as he talked to the competing NCOs who were being tested at the leaders reaction course site.

Addressing a small group of competitors, he noted, "I think the fact that you're here says a lot about you. It means you were selected from a large group of people to participate, so that is noteworthy, first because you wanted to do this, and second because of the amount of effort you put into it.

"Part of being non-commissioned officers of the future is taking on challenges because we're going to continue putting you in places where you have significant challenges," Odierno said. "It's about overcoming the unknown and figuring out solutions. That's the kind of leaders we want. We want adaptable individuals who can think on their feet; who can accomplish things they may not be prepared to do or may not have seen before. Leaders like you will need to figure it out and make the right decisions.

"That's why I think this (competition) is so important," Odierno said. "Because the ways we pick who our best non-commissioned officers are is really how they think on their feet and what they can do mentally and physically. That's the key. So, I appreciate the effort you put into this, and I think it's important when you get back to your units to talk about it and share this experience. I'm really very proud of you for doing this."

Odierno concluded his visit on the Ordnance Campus at Fort Lee. There, he met Retired Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie Adkins, a recent Medal of Honor recipient who was invited to speak at the Best Warrior awards dinner. The final stop also included a walking tour of the Ordnance School and its Welder Training Bay.

That was followed by a windshield tour of other training facilities and barracks construction sites prior to the Army chief's departure.

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