CAMP ZAMA, Japan (May 3, 2016) - Ten Soldiers from various units participated in U.S. Army Japan's 2016 Warrior Challenge Competition April 25-28 at Camp Fuji and Camp Zama.

During this four-day competition, five noncommissioned officers and five lower enlisted Soldiers who won in their unit-level competitions competed against each other in the WCC for titles NCO of the Year and Soldier of the Year, respectively.

The WCC began with a TA-50 inspection, written exam on Army doctrine and an obstacle course, which focused on physical fitness followed by day-and-night land navigations.

"The intent is to highlight Soldiers' abilities - to show what they have learned throughout the year," said Command Sgt. Maj. Maurice Chaplin, acting command sergeant major of USARJ who was in charge of the WCC.

The competition continued with the assembly and disassembly of M-16 and M-9 rifles, reflexive fire exercises; a 12-mile foot march; and the Soldier and NCO boards.

"I think it's important that we do this (challenge) to allow the 'best of the best' to exhibit their talents," said Chaplin.

Sgt. Drew Ayers, NCO in charge of Provost Marshall Office operations and assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Japan, earned the highest score for NCO of the Year; Spc. Lucas Patron, wheel vehicle mechanic assigned to I Corps Forward, earned the highest score for Soldier of the Year.

Maj. Gen. James F. Pasquarette, USARJ commanding general, presented the winners with Army Commendation Medals for their achievement.

"I feel accomplished. I applied what I knew, put it to work and it paid off," said Patron. "It also allowed me to see where I am compared to others in the Army."

"I'm tired...it was a long, hard week, but it feels good to win and move on to the next level," said Ayers.

Command Sgt. Maj. Chad Utz, operations sergeant major assigned to USARJ G3, said Ayers and Patron will go on to compete in the U.S. Army Pacific Command's level of WCC, which places them in the running to compete in the Army-wide Best Warrior Competition for Soldier and NCO of the Year.

"Soldiers who make it to this level next year, I applaud you," said Patron. "You're one of the few who will go out in competition to prove yourself among your peers."

"You're representing the Army and that name on your chest," he said. "Just give it 100 percent and do your best!"