ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - Staff Sgt. Karla Avila Mejia, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), and Spc. Markgriffey Lacanlale, 48th Chemical Brigade, were selected as the 2020 Best Warriors for the 20th CBRNE Command at a June 18 virtual ceremony.
This year, due to current DoD travel and social distancing guidance, the board appearance was executed virtually. Each candidate's military service records were reviewed in addition to answering several questions to assess their general military knowledge that also included an essay topic.
Brig. Gen. Antonio Munera, commander for the 20th CBRNE Command, and Command Sgt. Maj. Henney Hodgkins made the award announcement via a video conference with the competitors located at garrisons across the country.
Hodgkins emphasized that "the point difference between the Best Warriors and the second place Soldiers was very small." Hodgkins highlighting that each candidate, “performed very well and truly demonstrated that even under our current conditions, we are resilient and ready to execute our Army mission.”
Each Soldier earned the right to compete by succeeding at their company, battalion and brigade level competition. The competitors included: Sgt. Jason Closen, 52d Ordnance Group (EOD); Spc. Forest Deming, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD); Spc. Dale Felker, 20th CBRNE Command; Pfc. Ramon Hernandez, 52d Ordnance Group (EOD); Sgt. Mohammed Jalloh, 48th Chemical Brigade; and Staff Sgt. Byron Schwartz, 20th CBRNE Command.
The Best Warriors received several gifts donations from the Aberdeen Chapter of AUSA including a large, framed painting of an eagle, a gift certificate, and a two-year paid membership. The command presented the trophy and coins to the winners.
In addition, the Best Warriors received the Army Commendation Medal for "exceptionally commendable achievement for leadership, technical competence and dedication..."
The winners will represent the Command in August at the U.S. Forces Command Best Warrior Competition at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which will also be executed virtually.