By Sgt. 1st Class Scott Raymond, Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs OfficeAugust 7, 2018
FRANKFORT, Ky. -- "Honestly, I did not want to compete. When I was asked about competing for battalion I turned it down and my first sergeant (1st Sgt. Larry Butte) sent me a text saying 'Too bad Brewer, I wasn't asking.' Ideally this is what every Soldier in the military needs, leadership that will always continue to push them and improve them."
That was Sgt. Jordy Brewer's response to why he wanted to compete in the first place.
The infantryman from Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry is now the Army National Guard's NCO of the Year after winning the national Best Warrior Competition July 27 at Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.
"The last few months have been a journey," Brewer said. "Some days it feels like I've been on this road forever and other days it feels like I just graduated Ranger School. It has been nothing but a blessing though and I have really enjoyed myself, my opportunities to improve, and the fact that I have been winning."
That road began in the fall of 2017 when Butte "voluntold" Brewer he would be representing the Infantry battalion and competing in Kentucky's Best Warrior Competition. Brewer said he was "surrounded by fierce competition," but prevailed through rain and sub-freezing temperatures to be named Kentucky's top NCO.
"When I approached Sgt. Brewer about representing Alpha Company in the competition he stated that he was only recovered to maybe 80% from Ranger School and that it might be best to select someone else," said Butte. "I convinced him to go. He's still pretty tough to beat at 80%.
"Sgt. Brewer has accomplished a lot in the last couple years, but the way he has represented himself and the battalion throughout these competitions is a true testament to the type of person and Soldier he is," Butte added.
NCO of the Year wasn't the only title Brewer was eyeing at the time. A short six months later, he lined up with some of the Army's most elite Soldiers in the first event of the 2018 Best Ranger Competition (BRC) at Fort Benning, Georgia. Brewer and his teammate, Spc. Jan Wolfisberg of the Washington National Guard were among the few Guardsmen in the 100-man field for the event. Team 47 held their own for two days of grueling competition, barely missing the cut for the third and final day.
An even shorter nine days later, Brewer was off to represent Kentucky at the National Guard Region III Best Warrior competition in Tullahoma, Tennessee. In a first for the Kentucky Guard, Brewer won and advanced to the nationals.
Through similar events, a modified physical fitness test and 12-mile ruck through Gettysburg National Military Park, the outcome was the same with Brewer on the stage with top honors.
"I was there but often wondered if I was supposed to be there," he said. "I have to work on being more confident. Not that my recent thought process was wrong, there is nothing wrong with humility or maybe it's the fact that I've always dreamed of being where I am now that it is so surreal to see it happening."
Brewer said he questioned his motivation at Best Ranger and lacked confidence, but then at the pistol shot to begin the first event, he saw his mom (Lynn Brewer) on the sidelines cheering him on. It was the spark he needed. Spectators would call his family the "Brew Crew" during their time watching him compete.
"My family has been nothing short of amazing during this entire process," Brewer said. "It is only natural for a family to be greedy about time spent together but they have been very empathetic for my goals, my career, and myself. They are my backbone and my reason to keep pushing when the tank is empty."
Brewer recalled telling his family not to make the drive to Fort Benning for the Best Ranger, partially because of his swaying confidence. "I wasn't completely comfortable about BRC, and the fear of failure was eating me alive, so I told them not to come."
The night prior to Day 1, Lynn texted her son, "Like it or not, I am coming to the competition. I don't care how you do but I will be there to support you." She drove all night without stopping to sleep, checked into Ft. Benning, and showed up at the start line moments before the initial pistol shot. She was there for each event that day and went to her hotel to sleep for a few hours while Brewer rucked through the night.
"When I got off the bus for the Spartan race the next morning, she was waiting on me," he said. "This is where fear of failure played a crucial role in my performance for BRC. There are two different perspectives when it comes to fear of failure. It can be the water to your fire and then again it can be the gasoline. After seeing my mom that morning it built a rage up inside of me that I would not be defeated, that I would not allow her to leave after the competition let down."
Although Team 47 didn't make Day 3, Brewer's confidence was back, which helped propel him through the next two competitions.
For nationals, his mother, aunt, and cousin drove 9 hours to watch him compete, attending every event possible. Brewer's uncle, aunt and two cousins changed their vacation travel plans so they could catch the last day of competition in Pennsylvania. "My family being there for me when I walked onto the stage meant everything to me," he said.
"Personally, my success means a lot. I couldn't be happier to continue to win and stand on the stage at the end. I don't do this for personal pride. This has all been for my family."
And the grind continues for Brewer. He will begin training for the All-Army Best Warrior, which will be held in Virginia in September. The focus of his training is balance. Ensuring he is in the best physical shape is the key he believes.
"I don't train to be good at certain events and think I can relax a little in others. I train to be balanced and my natural competitive desire fuels me to be the best at anything I can be and everything. More or less, I really focus on training physically.
"This doesn't just help for physical events but even technical tasks," he continued. "These competitions don't have breaks and during these competitions your body and mind wears down. By being in better shape my body and mind will not be as impaired at the end of the five-mile run and disassembling an M240 will be clock work as usual, or even the perspective of running five miles and three hours later putting in eight more miles during a land navigation course. When it comes to competitions physical shape plays a huge role in everything."
Brewer thanked all levels of leadership in Kentucky for all the encouragement he received from his chain of command and said he couldn't have asked for better support. Numerous Soldiers from the Infantry battalion to State Command Sgt. Maj. David Munden provided assistance and guidance throughout Brewer's journey.
"We are so very proud of Sgt. Brewer and each of his accomplishments, and we're grateful that he is part of our Kentucky Guard family," said Munden, who was also a spectator at each of the Best Warrior competitions.
"Sgt. Brewer is an outstanding NCO. His competitive drive is simply amazing, and serves as an inspiration for all Soldiers. He has achieved beyond all expectations," Munden said.
When Brewer isn't training for another competition, he serves as an assistant football coach at his Alma mater, Harlan County High School. He plans on attending Airborne School this fall and hopes to make a National Guard team again for next year's Best Ranger.
"Overall my focus daily is to grind, improve, stay positive and let everything work itself out, 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart and he will make your paths straight.' Proverbs 3:5."