CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind.--Observer coach/trainers from brigades throughout First Army Division East vied for Soldier of the Quarter during a Best Warrior Competition held here Jan. 31 - Feb. 2, 2017.
The competition concluded with two overall winners who will be afforded the opportunity to represent FA East at the First Army Best Warrior Competition slated for this May at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
The participants were tested through various tasks including weapons ranges, first aid, ruck marching and hand-to-hand combat. The three-day event culminated with an administrative board presided by Command Sgt. Maj. Royce Manis, First Army Division East command sergeant major.
"These competitions are extremely important," Manis said. "It gives our observer coach/trainers an opportunity to showcase themselves and their respective units. As OC/Ts we're going to be working with our reserve component, and these competitions help build readiness by making our guys more professional.
"This has been a great group of competitors," he added. "We always say 'it's a close race,' but it really is a close race this time. It's been a tough race. I'm very proud of each of the brigades and the candidates they've put forward."
One of the winners looked back on the week's events and how he plans to take on the FA BWC.
"I noticed I hadn't worked on enough of the combat arms level one tasks," said Sgt. 1st Class David Cook, an OC/T with the 4th Calvary Brigade, First Army Division East. "I was more focused on the physical stuff and board appearance. I'm going to look closer at the skill sets for the Army Best Warrior Competition, and work toward that standard."
Overall, the participants were fairly even throughout the competition. The administrative board, however, turned out to be a deciding factor.
"I'm definitely going to study for the board more," said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Lange, one of the winners and an OC/T with the 157th Infantry Brigade, First Army Division East. "One of the sergeants major told me I was one of the weakest in the board. I really just need to work on being comfortable talking to the board members."
The past two FA East Best Warrior Competitions have also been held at Camp Atterbury.
"The biggest thing I'm proud of is the competitive spirit of the Soldiers, to see staff sergeants and sergeants first class go out there and compete for themselves and their organization," said Command Sgt. Maj. Ernest Bowen, the 157th Infantry Brigade command sergeant major.
"It's great to see some of these seasoned noncommissioned officers humble themselves and realize there are some things that they may need to work on," Bowen added. "I think it inspires younger Soldiers to come out and put their best foot forward."