NORTH LITTLE ROCK, AR – After weeks of conducting lead up events in their respective home states, nine competitors from five states across Army National Guard region V came together to complete the culminating events of the 2020 Best Warrior Competition Aug. 28 at Camp Robinson.The annual competition, which usually takes place all in one weekend, was conducted in two phases this year as a mechanism to mitigate COVID-19 risks.“This year was very challenging logistically and dynamic based on our efforts to protect our competitors, Soldiers, and volunteers from the effects of COVID-19,” said Command Sergeant Major Steve Harmon, land component command sergeant major and senior enlisted advisor to Kansas Army National Guard commander. “We were able to revamp quickly the entire process to a two-stage competition with a home-station stage at each of the competition states covering Army Physical Fitness Test, weapons qualification, and warrior tasks/battle drills.”Following the home-station stage, competitors from participating states - Nebraska, Kansas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas - meet for stage two of this competition at Camp Robinson, where each soldier completed the Army Combat Fitness Test, 12 Mile Ruck march, land navigation test, written essay, and a traditional appearance board covering questions from the NCO and Soldiers Guides.Command. Sgt. Maj. Harmon addressed the participants about why this competition is so important to the National Guard and its Soldiers.“Winning Matter – as stated by the Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. McConville,” Harmon said. “Best Warrior Competition pushes our Soldiers and non-commissioned officers to be the best, to master all areas of being an effective Soldier. We need Soldiers and NCOs who can lead our Army in combat and provide overmatch against any adversary.”After all events were completed and scores where added, winners were announced at a final ceremony to end the competition. This year’s NCO of the year was Sgt. Marlon Smith, Arkansas Army National Guard. The Soldier of the year was Spc. Jacob Arndt, Texas Army National Guard. As winners of the regional competition, Smith and Arndt will go on to compete in the Army National Guard national competition.In addition to the pride and bragging rights, competitors of the Best Warrior competition will return home to their units with something more important and lasting:“Our best warriors will bring back to their units and states an energized warrior attitude and pass on to their fellow Soldiers what it takes to be a great Soldier and National Guard member,” Harmon said.State level best warrior competitions are held annually. The next state competition for Kansas will be held in March of 2021 at Great Plains Training Center in Salina.