FORT LEE, Va.--Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh visited the Department of the Army Best Warrior competitors at Fort Lee, Va., on Oct. 5.

McHugh visited as the 26 Soldiers and noncommissioned officers were familiarizing themselves with weapons used in the Land Navigation portion of the competition.

During his visit, the competitors' sponsors were given the opportunity to ask questions of not only the Secretary, but the Sgt. Maj. of the Army, Raymond F. Chandler. Sgt. 1st Class Jared English, 1st Space Battalion, here as the sponsor to Staff Sgt. Andrew Brown, took the opportunity to question McHugh and Chandler about Force Shaping, and how it may affect Soldiers like himself.

"To be able to meet the secretary of the Army is a huge honor and something very few people, very few Soldiers, for that matter, actually get to do," English said. "He's the top guy in the Army, and everything goes through him. To be able to get first-hand knowledge from him, and to find out what the Army is working on for the future really was an amazing opportunity.

"I really appreciate that he took the time to come out here to speak with the Soldiers, and I hope to one day to be able to have the opportunity to speak with him again," he added.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Miller, 53rd Signal Battalion, here as the sponsor to Sgt. Brandon Kitchen, asked Chandler about the new Army Physical Readiness Test, and if it would affect or change current height and weight standards.

"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," Miller said. "I can't say I thought I'd ever get the chance to talk to the Secretary of the Army, much less ask him a question that's been on my mind, in such a small group forum."

After the question and answer session, McHugh and Chandler visited several training stations to speak with the competitors. At the Mission Oriented Protective Posture familiarization station which focuses on protective gear used during a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear attack, Chandler selected Staff Sgt. Andrew Brown, 1st Space Battalion, to speak to McHugh about his experience so far in the competition.

"It's such an honor to be here to represent the Soldiers from Space and Missile Defense Command," Brown told McHugh.

The Department of the Army Best Warrior competition continues through Oct. 7, with the live-fire range, warrior tasks and drills and combatives competitions still to come.

This is the 10th year for the Best Warrior competition, and this year marks Chandler's first time as host to the competition.