CAMP BLANDING, Fla. - After three days of intense competition, the 200th Military Police Command's best warriors were recognized at a ceremony Feb. 11.

Sgt. John Bullough, a wheeled vehicle mechanic from Baltimore, and Spc. Micah Ringer, an MP from Beaver, Pennsylvania, were honored as the command's best noncommissioned officer and junior enlisted Soldier, respectively. Both Soldiers are assigned to the 400th MP Battalion, of the 333rd MP Brigade.

"The first line in the NCO Creed is 'No one is more professional than I,'" said Brig. Gen. Marion Garcia, the 200th MP Cmd.'s deputy commander. "No one is more professional than you. You've got it, you've shown it, you've proved it and you own it. Thank you."
Bullough, who works as a full-time Soldier in the 400th MP Bn.'s motor pool, said that while he prepared for the competition for months, he was still nervous, because the Soldiers he competed against were the best of their peers.

"This has been a great competition. The people that I've met have just been the best people I've ever met in the Army Reserve," he said. "I enjoyed getting to know every one of you. It's no wonder why you all are here."

Ringer, a full-time student at Pennsylvania's Clarion University, found out on short notice that he would represent his battalion. He spent the two weeks he had preparing physically, but there was no way to prepare for events like a patrol through urban terrain that included friendly and enemy role-players, simulated explosions, and blank ammunition.

"It was the first full-speed thing I've done in a while," Ringer said. "At battle assembly, we don't really get a chance to go out with sim grenades and blank ammunition. It was very beneficial."

Command Sgt. Maj. Craig Owens, the 200th MP Cmd.'s top enlisted Soldier, thanked the winners and their fellow competitors for their efforts. More than 30 Soldiers from across the United States braved below-freezing temperatures and blustery winds, sleeping less than five hours each night.

"Thank you for the blood, sweat and tears that you left here at Camp Blanding. We sincerely appreciate it. Thank you for competing," he said.

The contest pushed them physically and mentally, from the opening pushups of the Army Physical Fitness Test to the last questions of the presentation board. In between, they endured marksmanship tests, live-fire maneuvers, land navigation challenges, combat scenarios and a 10-mile ruck march.

"It was tough, especially on that ruck march," Ringer said. "We were all sucking wind really hard, but we finished and made it trough the week."

Challenges like this event foster information sharing across units within the command. Competitors found themselves working together and sharing tactics, techniques and procedures throughout the competition. Bullough said all the Soldiers embraced teamwork.

"There were times I forgot we were competing. It honestly just felt like a teamwork event all the way through," he said. "The camaraderie was exceptional. When I came here, I thought there was going to be some animosity, but it turned out to be one of the greatest events I've ever done. I learned something from everyone."

Tough challenges can forge strong bonds, even when Soldiers arrive ready to win. Ringer said the initial coolness Soldiers showed each other quickly thawed.

"The first day we got here, we all kind of stood back and looked at each other," Ringer said. "We started eyeing each other and wouldn't talk to each other. Then we all became friends. Camaraderie was ... the only thing that got me through."

Command Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Canada, the top enlisted Soldier in the 333rd MP Brigade, the 400th MP Bn.'s parent unit, was proud to see two of his brigade's Soldiers succeed in the 200th MP Cmd.'s contest.

"It's a shining example of leadership at the very basics, from our enlisted Soldiers to the ranks of our NCOs. They were motivated, they were well trained, and they believe in the Army Values. All the competitors do. It's amazing to watch this every year," he said. "They're an awesome example for all Soldiers."
Bullough and Ringer will move on to the U.S. Army Reserve Command Best Warrior Competition, scheduled in May. There they will face the best and brightest of the Army Reserve's Soldiers. Owens said he expects them to succeed.

"We have a reputation at USARC of winning their Best Warrior Competition; we've had three winners. I expect them to win at the USARC competition as well."