By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)May 5, 2016
Twelve Soldiers, three Marines and one Sailor vied for the chance to be called the best during the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood Best Warrior Competition April 24 through 28.
The MSCoE Best Warrior Competition is used to determine the best drill sergeant, Advanced Individual Training platoon sergeant, noncommissioned officer, junior Soldier joint service NCO and joint service junior enlisted on Fort Leonard Wood.
In the end, an Army military policeman, Army diver, three Soldiers from the MSCoE Noncommissioned Officers Academy and a Marine came out on top.
Staff Sgt. Martin Delaney, Company B, 787th Military Police Battalion, is the 2016 MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Drill Sergeant of the Year and Staff Sgt. Brandon Laspe, Company A, 169th Engineer Battalion, is the 2016 MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant of the Year.
"(Winning) is validation for all of the hard work and training we put in," Laspe said.
"I was excited when my name was called as the winner (for Drill Sergeant of the Year)," Delaney said.
Delaney carries on a proud tradition for the military police. He said this is the seventh or eighth year in a row a 787th MP Bn. drill sergeant has won Drill Sergeant of the Year.
In fact, dating back to 2009, drill sergeants from the 14th Military Police Brigade have claimed the title of Fort Leonard Wood's DSoY.
Staff Sgt. Matthew Poole, NCO Academy is the 2016 MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Spc. Dillon Murray, NCOA is the 2016 MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Soldier of the Year.
"Feels amazing. Last year I took second, so I wanted to come back and go forward," Poole said. "This year, I trained a lot more and honed in on the small details."
The 2016 MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Joint Service NCO of the Year is Staff Sgt. Arron Dean, NCOA and the 2016 MSCoE and Fort Leonard Wood Joint Service Junior Enlisted Service Member of the Year is Marine Cpl. Markus Solheim, Marine Corps Detachment.
"I am proud I could do it for the detachment and the guys who work down there," Solheim said. "It was tough. I think we were in a pretty tight race all the way to the end."
Competitors endured five days of events including a physical fitness assessment, weapons systems, first aid, land navigation, combatives, physical training instruction, drill and ceremonies, media relations, physical endurance obstacle course, written examinations, the Marine Corps Combat Fitness Test and a 12-mile ruck march.
Competitors were chosen by their chain of command at their battalion boards. The winners moved on to compete at the brigade level, and those from the brigades competed at the MSCoE level for each quarter of the calendar year.
"These are the service members who exemplify and embody everything we look for in our service members at this sacred institution," said Command Sgt. May Roy Ward, MSCoE command sergeant major. "We are truly proud of these service members and what they represent. We should all aspire to be who they are and what they stand for."
The DSoY and PSoY will represent Fort Leonard Wood at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's DSoY/PSoY competition at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, while the NCoY and SoY will represent Fort Leonard Wood at the TRADOC Best Warrior Competition, which Fort Leonard Wood is slated to host later this summer.