By Mrs. Melissa Buckley (Leonard Wood)March 19, 2015
Fort Leonard Wood's Soldiers, Seabees and Marines will put their top service members to the test during the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence 2014 Best Warrior competition Monday through March 27.
"The Best Warrior Competition is a multi-faceted training event; it builds espirt de corps between the competitors, tests the physical and mental fortitude of the individuals competing, and selects the best of the best," said Staff Sgt. Stephen Whelan, Fort Leonard Wood 2014 Drill Sergeant of the Year.
Whelan said one of the most important facets of the competition is to realize that, while individual success of the winners is recognized, the service members represent Fort Leonard Wood.
"For instance, the Drill Sergeant and Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant of the Year will represent the drill sergeant and AIT platoon sergeant population of Fort Leonard Wood specifically," Whelan added.
As of now, there are about 30 service members who will be competing for the title of Drill Sergeant, AIT Platoon Sergeant, Non Commission Officer, Soldier, Joint Service Non Commissioned Officer and Joint Service Member of the Year.
"Competitors are chosen by their chain of command to represent them at their respective battalion boards. They move on and compete at the brigade level; winners from the brigade compete at the MSCoE level for each quarter of the calendar year. Those individuals who compete and win at the MSCoE level are allowed to compete at the Annual Best Warrior Competition," Whelan said.
Whelan said it is an honor to compete in this competition for a number of reasons.
"You are selected by your chain of command because of your abilities, as well as your character and commitment. However, the greatest honor, in my opinion, is that, as the 2014 Drill Sergeant of the Year, I get to serve the service members of Fort Leonard Wood," Whelan said.
During the competition troops will endure complex exams, as their minds and bodies are strained through four days of strenuous events.
"Competitors will be tested mentally and physically. The competitors will be tested on basic-Army tasks. By the end of the week, they will be physically and mentally exhausted," Whelan said.
Competitors could be evaluated on everything from their combative skills to ceremony and drill techniques.
"Each event will be available for public viewing. However, we do ask that the public stay back from the competitors as not to impede them during any event," Whelan said.
The award ceremony is planned for 10 a.m. March 27 at Lincoln Hall Auditorium.
The winners of the Drill Sergeant, AIT Platoon Sergeant, Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year categories will move on to compete at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command level. The noncommissioned officer and the Soldier winner will move on to the Army level competition, if they win at TRADOC.
According to Whelan, planning for this competition started months ago and encompasses cooperation from every tenant agency on the installation to include the sister-service units.