By SSG Michael DavisMay 21, 2018
CAMP SMITH TRAINING SITE, N.Y. -- Two New York City Soldiers assigned to the New York Army National Guard's 1st Battalion 69th Infantry Regiment took top honors during this year's Army National Guard Region 1 Best Warrior Competition held here, May 16-19.
Spc. Ilya Titov and Sgt. Quentin Davis earned the Soldier and non-commissioned officer honors for National Guard Soldiers in the northeast.
Each man bested six other competitors from New England, New York and New Jersey.
Camp Smith is the New York National Guard's training facility located north of Peekskill, N.Y., just south of the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Titov, an infantryman and Rockaway Park resident, was the winner in the junior enlisted competition, which covers Soldiers in the ranks from private to specialist.
Davis, a signal support systems specialist, was the winner in the non-commissioned officer category, which covers sergeants, staff sergeants and sergeants first class. Davis is an Astoria, Queens resident.
"The regional level (competition) showed me how to dig deep and challenge myself to use all of my National Guard training," Davis said.
Titov and Davis will advance to the National-level competition to compete against the winners from the other regions that comprise the 54 states and territories.
Most of the competitors echoed the same sentiment about the increased level of competition at the regional level, and the importance of leadership support while training and preparing for the event.
"The regional level required more stamina since the course was more demanding and the competition lasted for more days," said Sgt. Jeffrey Holmes, a chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear specialist assigned to the 13th Civil Support Team, Rhode Island Army National Guard.
Soldiers and NCOs reached the Region 1 competition by advancing through the unit, company, battalion, and brigade and state levels.
Holmes, who competed in his first Best Warrior competition this year and earned runner up for the NCO category, said that the support from his leadership was a big part of his success in reaching the regionals.
During the four-day competition, 14 competitors from eight Northeast states were evaluated on events that were specifically designed to mirror today's war-fighting environment and focus on leadership tasks.
Fifty Soldiers provided support for the competition.
The competition tested each Soldier in various events such as:
• A 12-mile road march carrying a weighted ruck sack;
• The Army Physical Fitness Test;
• Day and night land navigation;
• Stress shooting various weapon systems;
• Soldier appearance board.
The 12-mile road march was conducted at the United States Military Academy at West Point, after the Soldiers were airlifted in on a UH-60.
Soldiers were faced with adversity every step of the way, said Sgt. Maj. Matthew Gutzwiller, who led the operational support for the Best Warrior Competition.
"They had to display knowledge across multifaceted areas, shifting focus from their specialized military jobs to foundational Soldiering and leadership skills," said Gutzwiller.
According to Gutzwiller, Soldiers get focused team training throughout the year and this competition gives them the opportunity to perform and test themselves individually.
Titov, who improved his scores in every event since the previous level, credited the tougher competition for helping to challenge himself.
"I knew the competition was even fiercer; I had to keep pushing myself," Titov said. "I knew if I tried I could continue to do better."
One of the uniquely challenging components of this competition is that each Soldier is evaluated on the comprehensive Soldier model: both physical and mental.
"These were some of the fiercest competitors I've seen in the Best Warrior; they never gave up no matter what position they were in," said New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Major David Piwowarski, who oversaw the competition.
"Everyone can compete, everyone can train -- but mental strength is what makes you win at this level," Piwowarski said.
Piwowarski, who has nearly four decades of Army experience, is the senior enlisted advisor to New York Army National Guard Commander Major Gen. Ray Shields.
Thanks to an arrangement with West Point and the German Liaison Office there, all of the events of the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge were part of the Best Warrior Competition.
The German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge is one of the few approved foreign awards American service members can wear. The first phase consists of the basic fitness test, which included an 11x10 meter sprint, chin-ups, and 1000 meter run.
Soldiers are also graded on their swimming ability when earning the German award. The swimming event was held at the West Point swimming pool.
This year, all the Best Warrior competitors each scored high enough to earn the badge: seven earned gold, and seven earned silver.
The Region 1 Best Warrior Competition states are comprised of Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont and New Jersey.
Competitors from the other Region 1 states included:
• Spc. Benjamin Wilke, a Clinton, CT., resident and a member of the Headquarters Company, 102nd Infantry Regiment;
• Spc. Nicholas B. Bourget, an Auburn, MA., resident and member of 488th Military Police Battalion;
• Sgt. Justin Welch, a Hartland, ME., resident and member of 11th Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (CST);
• Sgt. Zachary J. Maynard, a Holderness, N.H., resident and member of Detachment 2, 160th Engineering Company;
• Spc. Ethan Kryla, a West Warwick, R.I., resident and member of 1st Battalion, 143rd infantry Regiment;
• Spc. Nicholas Rossetti, a Hudson, N.H., resident and member of 39th Army Band;
• Saul Hernandez, a Peekskill, N.Y., resident and member of 3rd Battalion 172nd Infantry Regiment (Mountain);
• Spc. Anatoliy Terentiev, a West Windsor, N.J., resident and member of 1st Battalion, 114th Infantry Regiment, 50th Brigade Combat Team;
• Sgt. David T. Liu, an Attleboro, M.A., resident and member of the B Company, 1st Battalion, 182nd Infantry Regiment;
• Sgt. Jeffery Holmes, a Coventry R.I., resident and member of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team (CST), 56th Troop Command;
• Spc.Gregory Gills III, a Norwood M.A., resident and member of the 189th Engineering Team [Asphalt] from the 101st Engineering Battalion of the 26th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade;
• Sgt. Michael Henri, a Staten Island, N.Y., resident and member of C Company, 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry Regiment.