Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawai'i - Ten soldiers, NCOs, and officers of the 94th Army Air and Missile Command participated in the annual Best Warrior Competition to build readiness, esprit de corps, and identify the top performers across the command.
The 94th AAMDC's senior enlisted leader, Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Neil Sartain, takes advantage of every opportunity he can to reinforce the importance of building a resilient, strong force. "These competitions are one of the many ways we build readiness. For the participants and the sponsors, training on both individual and leader tasks increases proficiency across the board."
The competitors participated in ten major events - with several of those including subordinate tasks. Land navigation during day and night, an eight-mile foot march, and M17, M4, and M320 ranges were just some of the events that tested the participants.
Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Sartain also observed there's an aspect a lot of people don't think about, that "it also trains the Soldiers and NCOs that plan and execute the events; they have to ensure they are experts in land navigation, warrior tasks, and battle drills, running ranges, and more. It truly improves the organization as a whole. I couldn't be prouder of the way the Soldiers, NCOs, and officers in this elite organization performed this week."
The winners of the competition were:
- Soldier: Spc. Keith Dotson, a Multichannel Systems Operator-Maintainer assigned to 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
- NCO: Sgt. Elijah Clarke, a Signal Support Specialist assigned to 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command
- Officer: 2nd Lt. Riley Holzman, a Radar Platoon Leader (14A) assigned to 14th Missile Defense Battery, 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade
Spc. Keith Dotson of New Orleans, Louisiana is a Multichannel Systems Operator-Maintainer assigned to 38th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. Speaking on the resilience required to succeed, Dotson said, "The most challenging part of the competition was pushing through the soreness from back-to-back events and continuing to perform."
As a newly-promoted Sgt., Elijah Clarke came out not just to win, but to have a good time. "The M17 range was my favorite part of the competition; it was my first time shooting a handgun, and it was fun to go through the shoot and move part of the range."
One of the newest Soldiers participating was 2nd. Lt. Riley Holzman of Burnt Hills, New York. A radar platoon leader assigned to 14th Missile Defense Battery at Kyogamisaki, Japan, 2nd. Lt. Holzman said, "Going through the best warrior competition, I earned a ton of respect for the Soldiers and NCOs that have to go through the board process for promotions - it was difficult and definitely stressed me out some."
Spc. Dotson, Sgt. Clarke and 2nd. Lt. Holzman will now move on to compete in US Army Pacific's Best Warrior Competition in early June.