SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Illinois (May 4, 2016) -- Commanding General Maj. Gen. Susan A. Davidson announced the winners of the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command's 2016 Best Warrior Competition.

U.S. Army Sgt. Maksym Moskalenko, 598th Transportation Brigade, and Spec. Mitchell Keeton, 597th Transportation Brigade, have earned the titles of SDDC NCO and Soldier of the Year.

SDDC brought its top Surface Warriors to Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri May 1-4, 2016 for a series of grueling mental and physical challenges to determine the command's Best Warriors. Competitors represented all five of SDDC's Transportation Brigades, strategically located in Combatant Command Areas of Responsibility around the world.

The three-day competition is designed to test the Soldiers' mental and physical fitness, along with advanced Soldier skills.

"We are going to test these soldiers and find the SDDC Best Warriors to send to the Army Materiel Command Best Warrior competition," said SDDC Senior Enlisted Leader Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Kevin McKeller.

Day one competition consisted of a weigh-in, Army Physical Fitness Test, Physical Endurance Course, Land Navigation tasks, and a mystery event. Additionally, Best Warrior candidates were also tested on Soldier skills including first-aid, CBRN, Casualty Reporting and handling throughout the day.

"We intentionally made day one very demanding by starting at 4:45 a.m., and completed the day at 8 p.m. after the mystery event," said McKeller.

The mystery event at the end of day one had Soldiers study a picture for five minutes, and then answer a series of questions without the picture.

"The mystery event was designed to test their mental (memory) skills when they were fatigued," said 1st Sgt. Jerome Harvey, SDDC Headquarters Detachment Sgt.

Day two events started at the firing range with Soldiers zeroing their M-4 carbine rifles. After the zero-phase, soldiers fired 40 qualification rounds. Afternoon of the second day saw Soldiers completing a 12-mile ruck march in full gear with the required 30 pounds in their rucksacks. The day ended with a 20-question written test.

"The written test consisted of questions about SHARP, EEO, and information from the online Army study guide," said Sgt. Maj. Torrance Braswell, G3 Operations Sgt. Maj.

The third day of competition began early with the Surface Warriors in U.S. Army Class A uniforms answering questions presented by SDDC's five brigade Command Sgt. Majors and SDDC Command Sgt. Major. Board questions consisted of Army Professional Development, current events, and Soldier Dress and Appearance.

"The board uses a rapid-fire question and answer atmosphere to keep the Soldier on their toes," said McKeller.

SDDC Senior Enlisted Leaders compiled scores from all events and award the Best Warrior 2016 Trophies during a luncheon at the conclusion of the third day. After the announcement of Best Warriors, the awardees posed for pictures and celebrated with their teammates.

"It's an honor to be selected to represent SDDC at the Army Materiel Command competition" said Keeton.