The U.S. Army Network Enterprise Technology Command held its Best Warrior competition, 13 through 17 May, as the command had the difficult task of selecting the best noncommissioned officer and Soldier out of a dozen competitors who had already proven their worth at their respective commands, during a week-long competition at historic Fort Huachuca, nestled in the Southwest-Arizona desert.
Announcement of the winners came during a ceremony May 17, in the command auditorium, when Spc. Keel Charles, from the 2d Signal Brigade, Wiesbaden Germany was named as the NETCOM Soldier of the Year, and Staff Sgt. Mathew Hauffen, from the 311th Signal Command, Fort Shafter, Hawaii, was named the command's NCO of the Year.
Making up the rest of the competition were: Sgt. Antonio Nevarez and Private First Class Kyleir Bell, representing the NETCOM Headquarters, Fort Huachuca, Ariz.; Sgt. Quince Lanford and Spc. Jose Jimenez, representing the 7th Signal Command, Fort Gordon, Ga.; Spc. Andre Araiza, 311th Signal Command; Staff Sgt. Joshua Burnham and Spc. Randy Olmsted, both representing the 335th Signal Command provisional, Kuwait; Sgt. Justin Thompson, 2d Signal Brigade; and Sgt. William Howard and Spc. Jesse Paiva, representing the Cyber Protection Brigade, Fort Gordon, Ga.
The competition this year included a 12-mile ruck march which kicked off at 2 a.m.; obstacle course; numerous weapons competition - to include a stress shoot which required each competitor to go through a rigorous workout consisting of push-ups, sit-ups, side-straddle hops, and a bear crawl prior to firing at the target with live rounds.
On day four of the competition the Soldiers had to master the new Army Combat Fitness Test which kicked off at 4 a.m., and then, after a quick shower and meal, met the Best Warrior Sergeant Major board, where their knowledge of Soldier duties was again tested.
The next step in the competition will be at Army Cyber Command, Fort Meade, Md., in early July and then, if selected at ARCYBER, on to Department of the Army level competition later this year.
Command Sgt. Major Jennifer Taylor, the NETCOM Command Sergeant Major, wrapped up the importance of the event and the importance of striving to be the best during her remarks when she said, "In the United States Army, once we took our oaths to become professional Soldiers, we assumed the unlimited liability to be ordered to place our lives in peril anywhere at any time. Therefore we must understand our mission and stay focused on our duty, as inherit members of the Profession of Arms."