FORT SILL, Oklahoma (July 2, 2021) -- Soldiers from the 434th Field Artillery Brigade won two of three prestigious competitions at the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill. The winners were named July 1, during a ceremony at Snow Hall.
Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Brent McGillivray, E Battery, 1st Battalion 40th Field Artillery, 434th FA Brigade, won the FCoE and Fort Sill Drill Sergeant of the Year (DSoY) competition.
Staff Sgt. Michael Labre, D Battery, 1st Battalion, 22nd Field Artillery, 434th FA Brigade, won the Best Warrior Noncommissioned Officer competition.
Spc. Zackery Mason, C Battery, 2nd Battalion, 6th Air Defense Artillery, 30th ADA Brigade, won the Best Warrior Soldier, or junior enlisted, competition.
Labre said the 434th FA’s wins show the brigade is out there leading by example, and staying competitive.
Also competing for DSoY were Senior Drill Sergeant (Sgt. 1st Class) Randy Veen, B Battery, 1st Battalion 78th Field Artillery, 428th FA Brigade; Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Zachary Hollis, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 6th ADA, 30th ADA Brigade; and Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) Matthew Dunbar, C Battery, 1st Battalion, 31st FA, 434th FA Brigade.
Staff Sgt. Eric Alvarez, FCoE Headquarters Detachment, also competed for Best Warrior NCO.
Additionally competing for Best Warrior Soldier were Cpl. Joseph Evans, HQ Battery, 95th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception), 434th FA Brigade; and Spc. Russell Navarrete, A Battery, 1st Battalion, 30th FA, 428th FA Brigade.
Guest speaker FCoE and Fort Sill Command Sgt. Maj. Stephen Burnley described the competitors as the very best, who stepped forward and put forth the extra effort.
“You’re all superstars and the example of the Warrior Ethos, which says, ‘I will always place the mission first, I will never accept defeat, I will never quit, and I will never leave a fallen comrade,’” Burnley said. “I am proud to serve with you.”
Joe Gallagher, FCoE and Fort Sill civilian deputy to the commanding general, presented each competitor the CG’s coin of excellence. Each winner also received an Army Commendation Medal, a K-bar knife plaque, a duffle bag of Fires gear, and a gift certificate from Fort Sill Family and Morale, Welfare, and Recreation.
McGillivray moves on to the Department of the Army-level DSoY competition later in July at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He said he’ll immediately start preparing.
“I’m studying the POIs (programs of instruction), the training modules, and running through the warrior tasks and battle drills,” he said.
Labre and Mason continue on to the Training and Doctrine Command’s Best Warrior Competitions at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, also this month.
“After that I’ll go to the Army one,” Mason said confidently.