Six non-commissioned officers and three Soldiers from around the world competed in the 2018 U.S. Army Medical Command Best Warrior Competition June 23-28, 2018, in San Antonio, Texas. Of the nine competitors, Sgt. Joshua Meyer, Medical Research and Materiel Command, and Sgt. Beatrice Clark, Regional Health Command-Central, were named the NCO and Soldier (respectively) 2018 MEDCOM Best Warrior of the Year.

"My heart was beating," said Clark, when asked how she felt when her name was called as the Soldier Best Warrior. "I wanted to win, but I couldn't believe it. I thought, 'Is this really happening?'"

For Meyer, it was a moment of relief.

"As soon as they called my name, there was a rush through my body of relief. You have all these pressures and expectations of you," he said. "You're not only representing yourself, but the unit you come from. The expectation is that you come here to perform, so it was a relief."

The pair will go on to compete in the U.S. Army's premiere competition against more than 20 of the Army's finest warriors, at the 2018 Best Warrior Competition at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., Sept. 30 through Oct. 5, 2018.

"For me personally, I need to work on my land navigation skills to prepare for the Army-level competition," said Meyers. "I feel like I ruck and I run a significant amount, and I need to ramp it up a slight bit, but I need to work on my land navigation."

To prepare for the MEDCOM competition, Clark said she did two-a-day workouts to physically prepare.

"I have a lot of the military knowledge, but I need to work on my strength training," said Clark. "I'll be working out a lot more and rucking with a heavier load."

This year's MEDCOM Best Warrior Competition started with a 19-mile foot march on day one. The distance proved to be a humbling challenge for all of the competitors.

"When they say we put on a 19-mile foot march, that's saying a lot," said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Gragg, MEDCOM command sergeant major. "The Soldiers today who will go on to represent Army Medicine need to continue to focus on their physical prowess to make sure they are physically ready for the demands of the test. Competency wise, our Soldiers are the smartest Soldiers in the Army. Their ability to do the technical tasks, I don't doubt. They need to keep working on their physical preparations."

During the Armywide six-day competition this fall, these elite competitors will test their knowledge, skills and abilities by conquering urban warfare simulations, demonstrating critical thinking, formal board interviews, physical fitness challenges, written exams, and warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today's operating environment.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey will oversee the 17th annual competition, which names the Department of the Army's Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.