CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Staff Sgt. Francis Trunck was named the 2016 First Army Best Warrior of the year at the First Army Academy auditorium at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, July 21.

Trunck, a light infantry Observer Coach/Trainer with the 157th Infantry Brigade out of Camp Atterbury, Indiana, was among the five First Army Soldiers who participated at this year's best warrior competition. The 32-year-old Akron, Ohio, native will represent First Army in the U.S. Forces Command Best Warrior Competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., on August 20-26th.

"The Best Warrior Competition really tested our abilities in our Soldier skills; it was a tough competition but morale was high among the candidates," said Trunck. "It feels good to win. I was pretty surprised that I won since all the competitors were close to one another; we all put in a great effort."

The Best Warrior Competition also tested the Soldiers' ability to do various requirements, both mentally and physically, said Sergeant 1st Class David Anderson, the operations noncommissioned officer with First Army Academy, who planned out the three-day event.

During the three-day competition, the First Army Best Warrior candidates were tested on their ability to conduct day and night land navigation, fight in urban warfare simulations, partake in board interviews and written exams, foot marching, weapon qualifications, participate in the Army physical test, and conduct Warrior tasks and battle drills applicable to today's operational environment.

Among these events, one course tested the majority of the Warriors on their decision-making process and their ability to execute a proposed plan they created in a 20-minute time limit with minimum equipment.

"The Leader Reaction Course tested Soldiers on their leadership, problem solving and team building skills. This event is crucial to allow the OC/Ts to evaluate the NCO's ability to accomplish a task with limited personnel and resources," said Command Sgt. Maj. Sam Young, First Army command sergeant major.

Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Kelly, an OC/T with the 1st Battalion, 305th Armored Regiment, 177th Armored Brigade at Shelby also agreed that the course was challenging and said "The course really tested the ability of their decision-making process to design a plan and execute it under a strenuous time limit and for some it was challenging."

Overall, Trunck said the competition really tested their Warrior's and leadership skills and tested each of the participants physically and mentally through dealing with sleep deprivation, fast paced critical thinking skills and performing in a high-stress environment.

Young agrees that "preparing for and competing in these types of competitions not only improves the knowledge, skills and abilities of the competitors but it also improves the effectiveness of the unit. Our mission at First Army is to coach, teach and mentor the reserve component and it is especially important that we set the standard."

As Trunck prepares for the next level, he said he is ready to compete and win at the FORSCOM BWC. He said he now knows what his strengths and weakness are and will further improve in those areas.

"It is important on the NCO side to hold these types of competitions and give NCOs the chance to compete with one another within First Army. By holding this competition here and having a Soldier represent us, it shows to the rest of the Army that First Army has some of the best Soldiers/OC/Ts," said Anderson.