With temperatures soaring in the mid 90’s and adrenalin running high, Soldiers from the 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) pushed through their final obstacle course during the The Old Guard’s Best Warrior Competition, Jun. 29, at Fort A.P. Hill, Va.

Over the course of three days, 14 Soldiers were tested on their performance of the Army Physical Fitness Test, multiple choice and written exams, day and night land navigation, weapons qualification, a simulated combat obstacle course and a military appearance board.

“We’re looking for the best well-rounded person,” said Staff Sgt. William Ransom, 4th Battalion BWC noncommissioned officer in charge. “We’re looking for a person to be able to think on his toes, make quick and timely decisions; be able to take a situation, determine the outcome and choose the best course of action.”

Competitors engaged an unexploded ordinance device, encountered gun fire, cleared rooms in an abandoned building, detained enemy forces and administered first aid to wounded Soldiers during the simulated combat course. Cpl. Ian Zibell, a BWC competitor from Honor Guard Company, said the different scenarios thrown at him definitely forced him to think on the go.

Aside from competing, some Soldiers took the opportunity to learn new things outside of their normal occupation, while others took advantage of touching up on basic Soldier tasks.
Spc. Gloria Toledo, supply clerk for Regimental Headquarters and Headquarters Company, said because of the nature of her job, she spends most of her time in the office. Toledo pointed out participating in the competition helped strengthen her abilities in land navigation.

Sgt. Ronald Marshall, 529th Regimental Support Company cook, said he never encountered a situation where a Soldier went down in combat. Marshall continued to say because of this training example during the competition, he became more proficient in his medical skills.
The variety in each Soldier’s job and skill level added a special touch to the competition.

“It’s one of the rare opportunities where you can bring representatives from all the companies across the regiment to work together and compete against each other,” said Staff Sgt. Joeseph Redden, 1st Battalion BWC NCOIC.

One NCO and one junior Soldier will go on to represent The Old Guard in the Military District of Washington’s Best Warrior Competition, July 18th through July 21st.

“You come out here to win, but even if I don’t, I will certainly gain some good experiences,” said Zibell. “I’ll be a better leader, because ultimately, I think that’s what they’re looking for.”

The winners for this year’s BWC competition are Sgt. 1st Class Chad Stackpole, Tomb of the Unknowns Sergeant of the Guard, and Private 1st Class Casey Hargaden, infantryman, 1st Battalion.