After five exhausting days and 10 grueling events, the top four 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade warriors earned a year of bragging rights among their peers.
The 35th ADA Brigade best warrior competition pitted the top Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 35th ADA Brigade, 2nd Battalion, 1st ADA Regiment and 6th Battalion, 52nd ADA Regiment against each other March 27-31 at Camp Casey, Republic of Korea for the title of best warrior.
The contestants were tested mentally and physically, with events ranging from a 12-mile ruck march, to a water survivability test and a live-fire stress shoot to name a few. Soldiers were required to complete each event in order to continue with the competition.
"We join the Army to become elite warriors in the profession of arms," said Col. Mark A. Holler, 35th ADA brigade commander. "We do this thing called competition and it brings out the best of us."
The title of best warrior in the officer division went to 1st Lt. Sang Kim. Sgt. Shawn Vannatter, also of 2-1 ADA, took the nod for top warrior in the noncommissioned officer group. Pfc. Casey Boyle bested the competition for top Soldier and Pfc. Wonbin Yi, also of 6-52 ADA, won the Korean Augmentee to the United States Army category.
"To me, it gives me a sense of pride and honor being the best KATUSA for 35th Brigade," said Yi. "The competition was challenging, it made me think of camaraderie and that I can push myself more than I did before mentally and physically."
The early and deliberate planning led by the brigade operations section resulted in a well-designed and executed competition that challenged the Soldiers. With support from the battalions, the cadre made the focus all about the warriors.
"The Soldiers made the competition what it was," said Sgt. First Class John Dempsey, 35th ADA Brigade event coordinator. "They really pushed themselves and competed. You could tell they all wanted to be there and they all wanted to win."
The competition was close until the very end, in one category the point differential was a mere three points going into the final event. The winners from each division will represent the Dragon Brigade at the Eighth Army best warrior competition.
The Eighth Army best warrior competition is scheduled for May 8 - 12, where the top Soldiers representing every major subordinate command on the Korean Peninsula will test their mettle. The winners of the Soldier and NCO division will compete at the United States Army Pacific best warrior competition later this summer.