FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- The annual IMCOM Atlantic Region Best Warrior Competition took place last week at Fort Jackson, bringing 19 Soldiers from posts around the Atlantic seaboard to compete for the title of "best warrior."

The event tested the mettle of Soldiers from nine installations, who competed in a variety of training exercises over the four-day event. In the end, Sgt. Ryan Mason, of Fort Drum, N.Y., was the IMCOM Atlantic Region NCO of the Year, and Spc. Keef Turner, USAG West Point, N.Y., was Soldier of the Year.

"It definitely took a lot of time and dedication," Turner said. "Without my leadership and my own dedication it wouldn't have happened. I want to thank my leadership, I want to thank IMCOM for having the competition to test my warrior skills, so now I know exactly where I'm strong and where I'm weak."

IMCOM Atlantic Region Command Sgt. Maj. Charles Durr said the event was about individual and unit pride.

"These warriors are challenged both mentally and physically," Durr said. "They have to take a written examination that tests their combat skills, (as well as) their oral and written communications. It's not just about the physical aspects. Each of these warriors is tested mentally, as well."

"It was a really challenging and realistic training competition," said Staff Sgt. Jerry Price, a chaplain's assistant who was the lone representative of Fort Jackson in the competition. The four-day event took its toll mentally and physically, he said.

"You have to just put your mind to whatever event it is and take it one day at a time," he said. "It helped me improve my strengths and all of my weaknesses. It was real good training."

"It shows you your strengths and weaknesses, because everybody has both," Turner said. "I think it helps as far as ... giving Soldiers motivation to do something great, regardless of if they win or lose. The fear of the unknown is always scary. I encourage everyone to just come out and do it, because it can be done."

Davis Tindoll, director of the IMCOM Atlantic Region, said that successes are often created by previous failures.

"The simple fact that you've stood up and said 'I will compete,' you have proven ... you are a professional," Tindall said. "Every profession -- doctor, lawyer, Soldier -- has certain creeds to live by. Part of it is constant improvement. You constantly seek ways to make yourselves better.

"The only way to achieve success, it sometimes take many failures," Tindall said. "Nobody failed here today, because you've led your organization, your particular garrison, to come here for this event."