ROCK ISLAND, Ill.-Seven Soldiers competed for the Army Materiel Command's Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year "Best Warrior" competition July 19-23 at Rock Island Arsenal.

Sgt. John Ferguson, a security specialist with the Army Sustainment Command Headquarters and Headquarters Company at Rock Island Arsenal, earned the honor of NCO "Best Warrior" in the week-long competition of physical and mental challenges with little sleep.

"I am shocked, excited and speechless," Ferguson said after being announced the winner. "This competition made me a better Soldier and more aware of my strengths and weaknesses."

Competitors endured a week-long challenge of events including M4 weapons qualification and reflexive firing, a warrior tasks and battle drills situational training exercise, land navigating, and an appearance before a panel of Command Sergeants Major from throughout AMC. The competition ended with 12-mile road march.

"The road march was the most challenging event because my feet had not completely healed from the ASC competition a few weeks ago," Ferguson said.

Ferguson said the competition was a great overall experience because of good competitors, sponsors and a good cadre to learn from.

Spc. Alex Perenishko, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command, took the honor of AMC Soldier of the Year "Best Warrior."

"This was a great experience," Perenishko said. "I gained a lot of knowledge that I can take back to my unit."

Perenishko also said that the 12-mile road march was the most challenging event because he had never done that long of a march before.

Ferguson and Perenishko were presented trophies, gift certificates, an MP3 player, and a coin from retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Richard Kidd, at a ceremony on Friday. Both will compete for top honors at the Department of the Army level in October.

Other AMC Soldiers who competed were: Sgt. Julio Castellanos, Army Research, Development and Engineering Command; Sgt. 1st Class Marco Andrade, TACOM Life Cycle Management Command; Staff Sgt. Randy Rodriguez, Surface Deployment and Distribution Command; Staff Sgt. Justin Maxwell, Aviation and Missile Command; and Spc. Natanael Afanador, Army Materiel Command Band.

For queries, contact the Army Sustainment Command Public Affairs Office at or by phone at 309-782-5421.

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