WASHINGTON – Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston announced the winners of the 2021 Best Warrior Competition during a live presentation at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting in Arlington, Va. The 2021 U.S. Army award winners are:

Best Warrior Competition NCO of the Year – Sgt. Adam Krauland, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii (Hometown: Grand Junction, Colorado)

Best Warrior Competition Soldier of the Year – Spc. Justin Earnhart, Army Futures Command, 470th Military Intelligence Brigade (Hometown: San Diego, California)

"The Best Warrior Competition is an opportunity to showcase America's top Soldiers and NCOs. Just earning the right to compete in this event shows they are committed to being a highly trained, disciplined, and fit member of America's greatest team," Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston said.

Previously announced 2021 Army competition winners:

Drill Sergeant of the Year – Sgt. 1st Class Travis Burkhalter, U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, Fort Jackson, South Carolina (Hometown: Rome, Georgia)

Regular Army Recruiting NCO of the Year  Staff Sgt. Donggi Kim, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, 6th Recruiting Brigade, Las Vegas, Nevada (Hometown: Ilsan, South Korea)

 Reserve Recruiting NCO of the Year – Sgt. 1st Class Rigoberto Rodriguez-Fernandez, U.S. Army Recruiting Command, Medical Recruiting Brigade, Fort Knox, Kentucky (Hometown: Toa Alta, Puerto Rico)

Regular Army Career Counselor of the Year – Sgt. 1st Class Jackie Lord, Madigan Army Medical Center, Tacoma WA (Coos Bay, Oregon)

Reserve Component Career Counselor of the Year – Sgt. 1st Class Morgan M. Smith, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kansas (Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin)

The Best Warrior Competition recognizes enlisted personnel who demonstrate commitment to the Army values, embody the warrior ethos and represent the force of the future. The Army’s top Soldiers and noncommissioned officers compete at locations around the world during this annual competition. NCOs and Soldiers first compete in subordinate competitions, and then the finalists compete for the titles Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year over a three-week span in September and October.

The Drill Sergeant of the Year competition is hosted by the U.S. Army Center for Initial Military Training, the initial-entry training core function lead for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. It is one of the most physically demanding and mentally tough challenges any Soldier can face in a U.S. Army competition. For four days, the competitors must perform and master all associated tasks and drills from Basic Combat Training. To win, they must not only be experts in training Soldiers, but also be the best of the best and rise above the competition.

The Recruiter of the Year awards are presented to Soldiers who are judged to be the top recruiters in their respective categories. Representing U.S. Army Recruiting Command's six recruiting brigades, they compete to demonstrate their knowledge and professionalism. Competitors complete an Army physical fitness test and deliver presentations before the USAREC command sergeant major and all of the brigade command sergeants major.

The Career Counselor of the Year competition includes significant physical and mental challenges in which each competitor is graded according to Army standards. This includes completion of the Army Combat Fitness Test, a 50-question multiple-choice exam, a 750-word essay on a chosen topic and a variety of board appearances. Scoring is decided through the culmination of commanders’ evaluations and recommendations.

###