By By T. Anthony BellOctober 14, 2010
FORT LEE, Va. (Oct. 14, 2010) -- In a few days, a select group of warriors will converge upon Fort Lee to showcase their soldiering skills in the 2010 Department of the Army Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year "Best Warrior" Competition.
The installation's Combined Arms Support Command and a bevy of support personnel from the U.S. Army Garrison and the Sustainment Center of Excellence are responsible for building the stage and running the five-day competition that some call the "Super Bowl of Army competitions."
Command Sgt. Maj. C.C. Jenkins, CASCOM's top noncommissioned officer, heads up the support effort. His point man for the event, 1st Sgt. LaDerek Green, said Best Warrior requires a massive stream of support from almost every corner of the installation.
"The support Fort Lee provides the competition is awesome," said the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, CASCOM-assigned Soldier. "It's worth noting that every post organization is involved in comparison to years past. It is a larger and more collective effort."
Best Warrior brings to the installation Soldiers and NCOs from 12 major commands to include the U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard. They will face a series of mental and physical challenges, to include day and night weapons qualification ranges, a fitness test, land navigation, a board appearance and more.
Events will take place at several facilities and field sites throughout the week, involve the participation of more than 200 Soldiers and civilians, and require a fine-tuned logistical effort to pull it all off.
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Harris, NCO in charge of the Best Warrior planning cell, said the support ranges from providing observer-controllers and medical personnel to transporting contestants and readying facilities.
"Each event requires a different level of support," he said. "The Army Physical Fitness Test requires only about 20 people. Some of the warrior tasks and battle drills require no more than 20 and some require more than 60 who act as role-players and support personnel. It really depends on the event."
The 49th Quartermaster Group, the installation's only active-duty Forces Command tenant, may have the largest role of any unit supporting Best Warrior. Its top NCO, Command Sgt. Maj. James K. Sims, said his unit's participation will help support the notion that Best Warrior is an intense, realistic training event that will make such an impression on the participants, they will be obliged to pack up what they learned and take it back to their units to help improve training and readiness.
"Many of our Soldiers have practical experience and multiple deployments in and around Iraq and Afghanistan," said Sims. "Those factors will be key in making the events relevant and as realistic as possible."
The competitive events for this year's Best Warrior begin Monday. Harris said he is confident that NCO-led competition will be worthy of being called "Best Warrior."
"The Fort Lee team really comes together to make this happen," said Harris. "That's why it's been here for the past seven years."
Best Warrior concludes Oct. 22 at Fort Lee with the mystery event, a new segment in which contestants are not told anything about the event, only that it is something in which they should have had previous training.
The Army's Best Warrior NCO and Soldier will be announced Oct. 25 by Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston at the Association of the United States Army Awards Luncheon in Washington, D.C.