JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Before Sgt. Hunter Roth set off for the I Corps Best Warrior competition, his First Sergeant had two requirements for him.
“First, do as best as possible to crush every other competitor,” said 1st Sgt. Maurice Hendrixson of 66th Military Police Company. “Second, no quitting.”
This simple advice from his senior leader was taken to heart by Roth, who took his history of high achievement at 66th MP Co and demonstrated it at the highest level on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, to win I Corps Best Warrior. Roth will next compete at the U.S. Forces Command (FORSCOM) level, which will give him a chance to become the U.S. Army NCO of the Year.
Roth is a Military Policeman who has developed a reputation at his unit for developing Soldiers and leading a high-performing team.
“Just by doing his daily job, it set him up for success with Best Warrior,” said Capt. Zachary Marciano, commander, 66th MP Co. “The approach he takes as a team leader every day within the company is what brought him to the top.”
As an example, Marciano described Roth’s approach with his team during the early days of quarantine, where he found creative ways to get his team members involved in physical training while respecting the COVID-19 restrictions.
Hendrixson also pointed to the results of Roth’s team as the best expression of his leadership skills.
“Leadership isn’t measured by PT or how well you shoot, it’s measured by how successful your team is,” said Hendrixson. “100 percent I would put his team against any other team in the battalion.”
Roth’s path toward I Corps Best Warrior began when he enlisted in the North Dakota National Guard as an MP. When he had the opportunity to cross over into active duty, he took it. During his time at 504th Military Police Battalion, Roth has helped safeguard JBLM and also deployed with 66th MP Co to the Southwest U.S. border in support of Department of Homeland Security.
The deployment brought new challenges for Roth. Instead of patrolling the familiar confines of JBLM, he and his team did shifts of 24-hour security for engineers installing concertina wire and other reinforcements along the U.S.-Mexico border. Roth and his teammates found themselves in a unique environment that was constantly changing.
“We were in the public eye and had to remain neutral, and be the utmost professional that the Army requires,” said Roth, a native of Bismarck, N.D. and former MP in the North Dakota National Guard. “We had to remain vigilant for anything suspicious.”
1st Sgt. Shawn Bruner, who currently leads Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 42nd MP Brigade, saw Roth’s leadership and performance during 66th MP Co’s border deployment, and was not surprised at his former Soldier winning Best Warrior.
“He’s always a guy that is going above and beyond. He eats, sleeps and breathes Army,” said Bruner. “He’s the kind of Soldier who calls in the middle of the night to check on people. He took an APFT failure, and made him into one of the best PT guys in the company.”
Roth’s leadership and physical excellence helped push him to the top of Best Warrior, where he excelled at every physical event and also impressed at the board and land navigation. Beyond competing at FORSCOM Best Warrior, Roth’s next challenge starts next month when he reports for the first phase of training for the Army’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal course. If he graduates from the notoriously difficult EOD course, Roth will transition from an MP to an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist (89D).
“EOD is the next echelon I hope I can achieve,” said Roth, who views EOD as a step beyond what he does as an MP in safeguarding the force. And his goals don’t end with completing EOD training.
“I want to become a Green Beret, and a Command Sergeant Major,” said Roth. “I just want to surround myself with professionals of higher and higher skill sets. Steel sharpens steel.”