MANNHEIM, Germany - It was all heart and determination for the nine participants who competed in this year's grueling three-day competition to become the Warrior and Warrior Leader of the Year for the 21st Theater Sustainment Command here June 13-15.

The eight competitors arrived around 6:30 a.m. to the Lampertheim Training Area just outside of Mannheim to begin the competition with an Army Physical Fitness Test. During the fitness test, the Soldiers were closely monitored as they tried to make every repetition count. Following their fitness test, the Soldiers were only given about 15 to 20 minutes before they were briefed and began suiting up for a rigorous 12-mile ruck march.

The day ran into night as the Soldiers trudged through a night land navigation course followed by a day land navigation course the very next morning.

The competitors also faced the tasks of firing and qualifying with various small arms weapons, leading a squad of Soldiers through an urban assault course and brawling in combatives.

Spc. Christopher Brown, an automated logistical specialist with the 240th Quartermaster Supply Company, 391st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 16th Sustainment Brigade in Bamberg, Germany, and a WOY competitor, talked about why he took this competition personally.

"It makes me stronger. Everything I do I do it for my son, so he will have somebody to look up to. That is my push," said Brown.

The competition was capped off with an exhausting situational training exercise course filled with multiple collective tasks to see how the participants fared in a crisis situation. The sequence of events concluded with a board appearance, which was presided over by Command Sgt. Maj. James Spencer, the command sergeant major of the 21st TSC.

After the Soldiers completed the competition, the warriors headed to Panzer Kaserne parade field in Kaiserslautern, Germany, where they were reunited with Families and Soldiers from their home units to enjoy a barbeque in celebration of making it through the arduous three-day competition.

After commending all the Soldiers for their hard work, Maj. Gen. Patricia McQuistion, the commanding general for the 21st TSC, announced before a large audience that Sgt. Richard Hunter, the communications noncommissioned officer for the 240th QM Co., 391st CSSB, 16th Sust. Bde. was the 21st TSC Warrior Leader of the Year.

McQuistion then announced Spc. Michael Freas Jr., a human resources specialist for the 7th Warrior Training Brigade, 7th Civil Support Command from Grafenwoehr, Germany, as the 21st TSC Warrior of the Year.

Hunter said it was the culmination of several things that helped him to achieve the top Warrior Leader honors for the 21st TSC.

"Determination, dedication, and a lot of hard work, sweat and tears were poured into the preparation for the outcome of this competition," said Hunter.

Freas said the assistance he received from his leadership was significant in his winning the competition.

"I have been receiving a lot of support from my unit. They have been very helpful and my NCO support channel has backed me up the whole way," said Freas.

Hunter and Freas will represent the 21st TSC at the U.S. Army Europe Warrior and Warrior Leader of the Year competition later this year.