CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT -- The 29th Infantry Division has led the planning and preparations for the U.S. Army Central Command's Best Warrior Competition that will take place May 22-25, 2017 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait. A total of 19 Soldiers -- ten non-commissioned officers and nine junior Soldiers, based in five different countries are expected to compete. Throughout the three-day event, participants will compete in combative, physical fitness tests, and a twelve-mile ruck march. On top of the physical events, candidates will take a written exam, attend a formal board, and execute recovery operations. Division personnel are in charge of making sure those events run smoothly.
The Division assumed responsibility for executing the competition this year from U.S. Army Central Command's Forward Command Post and has been preparing and resourcing the event for the past several months. Non-commissioned officers from the Division worked through all the competition's different aspects, from planning the coordination of the major moving pieces down to the minute details. Ten units across the area of operations are participating by sending Soldiers to compete; some are also offering support.
The 420th Engineer Brigade; 29th Combat Aviation Brigade; 1st Theater Sustainment Command; 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division; Area Support Group-Kuwait; and 3rd Medical Command are all contributing to the mission. Directing all of the various pieces is Master Sgt. Latane Gilliam, the 29th Inf. Div.'s operations non-commissioned officer, who is in charge of running the competition.
"When you pull so many factions together things can get tangled," said Gilliam. "Yet we have put a lot of work in, and are excited to see it all come together."
The staff has spent months conducting weekly in-progress review meetings in order to bring all the different components together and, more recently, to work out last minute kinks. On May 15, Gilliam and his team conducted a rehearsal of the competition, where they walked through all the lanes to identify problems and make last-minute adjustments.
"This event is a fairly big deal," said Gilliam. "But for the winners there is still more to come."
To compete in this event, contestants had to compete at the company, battalion and brigade levels. The top Soldier and top NCO from this competition will each continue on to compete in the U.S. Army North Best Warrior Competition at Fort Bliss, Texas later this year.