FORT LEE, Va. (Dec. 8, 2010) -- Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston thanked Team Lee members for their efforts during the 2010 Best Warrior competition during a ceremony Tuesday at a packed Lee Theater.

SMA coins, photos and letters of appreciation were presented to nearly 50 members of the community. Before the presentation, Preston spoke to the audience about the three pillars of development throughout a Soldier's career.

The first pillar - institution - is important because it provides the education pieces that units can't provide, said Preston.

On-the-job training is the essence of the second pillar and help develops Army leaders, he continued.

The Best Warrior competition, and the preceding noncommissioned officer and Soldier of the month, quarter and year boards, help develop the third pillar - self-development and self-study.

"If you look at this competition, this has been the culmination of a year's worth of work out there in units and organizations," said Preston. "(The competitors) started their journey more than a year ago. It was the company, troop and battery commanders who started the Soldier and NCO of the month boards."

Fort Lee has been instrumental in helping the rest of the Army train their Soldiers. During his seven years of involvement with the competition, Preston said he's very proud of the work Fort Lee has done. Fort Lee has hosted Best Warrior for nine years.

"Commanders and senior leaders take what you do - what you showcase at Fort Lee - and incorporate that into their training schedules and their training venues over the course of the next year," said Preston. "For the last seven years, you've been part of promoting and developing our units and organizations.

"You've shown the Army and you've shown the leaders how with minimal resources - with some innovativeness and creativity - you can create realistic, real-world scenarios that replicate what Soldiers and leaders do every day in more than 80 countries around the world," he continued.
Preston passed on the thanks from his office and other senior leaders across the Army.

"The piece I want to leave you with is thanks for helping us train the Army and, second, for helping us grow and develop the leaders of the future," he said. "Thank you all very, very much for what you do every day and what you've done to this competition to make the Army better."