WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 8, 2007) - In America's best Army ever, two Soldiers now have bragging rights as "best of the best."

Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston revealed Staff Sgt. Jason R. Seifert as the Army's top NCO and Spc. Heyz T. Seeker as the Army's top Soldier at today's Association of the United States Army convention here. The announcement follows this year's Best Warrior Competition, held at Fort Lee, Va., Oct. 1-5.

A member of the 3rd U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), Staff Sgt. Seifert represented the Military District of Washington. Spc. Seeker represented the Special Operations Command and is stationed at Hunger Army Airfield, Ga., with the 75th Ranger Regiment.

"They just happened to pick the tasks I knew well. It could have been any other task, any other day of the week, and somebody else would have come out on top," said Staff Sgt. Seifert. "Even though this was a competition, all of the competitors worked very well together and learned from one another. It's great to now get the opportunity to represent all of them."

Spc. Seeker said three deployments to Afghanistan and one to Iraq helped prepare him for the competition.

"I love the Army, and I love living a structured life," he said. "I'm all about paving the way, leading the way and being the first at something. I was the first in my family to be a ranger, and I'd like to one day become the first Filipino sergeant major of the Army."

Twenty-six Soldiers from 13 major commands faced rigorous mental and physical tests last week through a selection board chaired by SMA Preston, as well as M-4 rifle qualification, day and night urban warfare, battle drills, a written exam on military topics, an essay, a physical-fitness test, battle drills and a mystery event.

This year's competitors included Spc. Jamiell Goforth, a combat medic with the 4th Infantry Division. Spc. Goforth is the first female to become the U.S. Army Forces Command Soldier of the Year, and was the only female to reach the 2007 Army-level competition.

The Army's best Soldier of 2003, Staff Sgt. Russell Burnham, returned this year to shoot for the Army's best NCO title.

Sgt. Patrick J. Mann, who was last year's Soldier of the Year for the U.S. Army Space and Missile Command, also returned to this year's competition in hopes of being named the Army's top NCO.