Maj. Gen. Neil S. Hersey, CCoE and Fort Gordon commanding general, recognized participants in the installation’s 2020 Best Warrior Competition and Drill Sergeant of the Year during a ceremony July 2 at Signal Theater. The competition took place June 28 – July 1 at various locations throughout Fort Gordon.
Thirteen Soldiers from units across the installation competed in what Hersey said was “designed to recognize Soldiers who demonstrate commitment to Army Values, embody the Warrior Ethos, and represent the force of the future.”
The competition was spread over four days and tested Soldiers’ skills on a variety of areas including physical fitness, day and land navigation, weapons’ qualifications, written exams, warrior tasks and battle drills, and more. The competition ended with an Army Service Uniform inspection and board in which competitors were tested on Army knowledge and given the opportunity to exude confidence.
Despite each of the Soldiers’ efforts, only three could come out on top. But that didn’t lessen the pride and sense of accomplishment Hersey believed each participant should feel.
“Throughout this competition, you have demonstrated personal drive, commitment, mastery of Soldier skills, intellect, intestinal fortitude and warrior spirit – the spirit within each of you that is guided by our Army’s Warrior Ethos,” Hersey said. “I encourage all of you to walk away proudly and reflect upon what you have learned about yourselves during this competition. Take those valuable lessons and put them in your leader kit bag, then put those lessons into action, as I charge you today with leading our Army’s future force.”
In the junior enlisted category, Spc. Roderick Reid, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, CCoE, won Best Warrior Competition Soldier of the Year, and Pfc. Nicholas Fink, Cyber Training Battalion, was named runner-up.
In the senior enlisted category, Staff Sgt. Michael Reinhardt, 369th Signal Battalion, won Best Warrior Competition NCO of the Year, and Sgt. Jeffrey Rodick, 442nd Signal Battalion, earned runner-up honors.
Drill Sergeant of the Year title goes to Staff Sgt. William Ford, of 551st Signal Battalion, with Sgt. 1st Class Michael Bell trailing as runner-up.
Upon learning he won, Reid said he was somewhat surprised, noting that the competition was “stiff.”
“I had to really pace myself in certain areas,” Reid said. “I would say the biggest challenge was trying to stay confident and keep my morale going, but I feel like the work I put in paid off ultimately,” Reid said.
Like Reid, Ford said he gave the competition all he had – unlike a previous one he participated in. Reflecting on an event he competed in five years ago, Ford said he made the mistake of being overconfident.
“I paced myself on events … and when I didn’t hear my name called onstage, it made me regret not putting every last ounce of effort I had,” Ford recalled. So when I did this event, I knew that every point counted, every minute of every event counted, and I needed to remain focused if I wanted a chance to win.”
Looking ahead to the next competition, Reinhardt said it’s another “chapter in his career” and an opportunity to for learning, adding that at the end of the day, it’s not about him winning. Instead, it’s about setting a good example for Soldiers following in their footsteps.
“Our jobs as noncommissioned officers and drill sergeants is not about ourselves; it’s what we produce,” Reinhardt said. “So at the end of the day, if we can show a good product, that’s all that matters.”
Winners will represent Fort Gordon and compete at the U.S. Army Training Doctrine Command level later this year. In the event that a winner cannot attend the runner-up will compete in his place.
For more photos of the competition, visit the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence Facebook page.