By Carrie David Campbell (SMDC/ARSTRAT)July 15, 2019
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colorado - Eight of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's top warriors faced off this week to determine who would be the command's 2019 Best Warriors.
The command's regional winners descended on Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson to compete in a variety of Soldier skills for the command's Best Warrior Competition, July 8-12.
"These Soldiers are the future. They really gave their all," said Command Sgt. Maj. Finis A. Dodson, USASMDC/ARSTRAT's command sergeant major. "I'm proud of each and every one of them. And on behalf of SMDC, you should be proud of them. Because these are our Soldiers. They represent us. These are your Soldiers."
Facing off were four noncommissioned officers and four Soldiers: Sgt. Roberto Arazia and Spc. Zachary Petersen, Company A, 53rd Signal Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, Fort Detrick, Maryland, Eastern Region; Sgt. Chayse Burns, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 53rd Signal Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, Fort Carson, Colorado, and Spc. Adam Lamont, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Space Brigade, Fort Carson, Western Region; Spc. Brandon Eastman, Company E, 53rd Signal Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, Okinawa, Japan, and Spc. Jared Geurts, Company D, 53rd Signal Battalion, 1st Space Brigade, Wahiawa, Hawaii, Pacific Region; and Sgt. Kyle Swartz, Joint Tactical Ground Station-European Command, Siganella, Italy, and Spc. Tanner Anderson, Company C, 53rd Signal Battalion, Landstuhl, Germany, European Region.
"Everyone did a great job. There are no losers in this event. They are all winners," Dodson said. "Keep pushing everybody else, and keep pushing each other. This is what the Army is about."
The winners were announced during a ceremony July 12 at the command's operational headquarters on Peterson Air Force Base. The NCO Best Warrior is Burns and the Soldier Best Warrior is Anderson.
The competition consisted of the Army Physical Fitness Test, day and night land navigation, Army Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills, 12-mile ruck march, combatives, obstacle course, weapons qualification, written common Soldier knowledge examination, written essay, Equal Opportunity event, TC3 medical lanes, SHARP test, M249 event, media event, and an appearance in front of a board consisting of command sergeants major from across the command.
Anderson said it felt great to win.
"It was a tough competition out there; it was a great competition," Anderson said. "A lot of really good guys out there. I'm glad I was able to come out on top."
Burns agreed saying it had been a hard week.
"I feel excellent. I feel like all of us put our best foot forward," Burns said. "Somebody had to come out on top, and I'm happy that it was me."
He said combatives was his favorite event.
"I like getting in there. Rolling and fighting is a pretty fun thing for me," Burns said. "None of the events were really super terrible, but the ruck was definitely challenging. The competition was great, and I loved it."
Anderson said the ruck was his favorite event.
"My favorite event, because it was the toughest, was definitely the ruck for me just because it was the most taxing on my body," Anderson said. "I had fun with it because I was chasing the guys in front of me. It was a good time."
Burns and Anderson will represent the command in the U.S. Army Forces Command Best Warrior Competition Aug. 17-22 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In the event that either competitor is unable to compete, the runners up, Swartz or Geurts, will compete at the next level, said Dodson.
"One NCO and one Soldier are going to represent SMDC at FORSCOM," Dodson said. "I want them to go up there and do great things and win."
Burns and Anderson both received Army Commendation Medals during the ceremony.