By Sgt. 1st Class Sean Riley, ASC Public AffairsMay 18, 2012
ROCK ISLAND, Ill. -- After a grueling week-long competition spanning more than one-hundred miles and two states, the Army Sustainment Command announced its Best Warrior Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier May 18.
Sgt. 1st Class Jay Denton, a pre-deployment training equipment specialist for ASC, with more than 15 years of service in the Army, was chosen as the ASC Best Warrior NCO of the Year.
"I'm honored they chose me to represent the command in this competition and (that) I was able to win it," said Denton. "If I would have stopped to take it easy at any time during the competition, I'd have been left in the dust."
ASC's Best Warrior Soldier of the Year for 2012 is also last year's winner. Spc. Calvin Williams, a food service specialist currently working in the ASC Headquarters and Headquarters Company orderly room.
"You've always got to stay motivated," said Williams. "I just feel a lot happier. Things I didn't know last year, I'm actually much prouder that I got to get done this year."
Both Soldiers will move on to compete in the Army Materiel Command's Best Warrior competition to be held on the Arsenal in mid to late July. Both are competing against their peers from across AMC and have the potential to represent AMC at the Department of the Army competition in August.
"Here is a group of Soldiers, (that) over the last four days have proved themselves to be true warriors," said ASC's Command Sgt. Maj. James E. Spencer. "They've been tested in many, many areas and the winners here today, well; it's just the beginning for them."
Five competitors, two Soldiers and three NCOs, were tested on a variety of mental and physical events each day of the competition. The events began at 4 a.m. on Monday, May 14, and ended with the announcement of the winner at a noontime luncheon at Rock Island Arsenal's Golf Course clubhouse on May 18.
The week began with an Army Physical Fitness Test, followed by comprehensive board interviews, an essay about what it means to be an Army professional, and a 150-question quiz on military topics ranging from rules and regulations to leadership responsibilities. And that was just day one.
Day two found the competitors 175 miles west of the Arsenal and on the unfamiliar grounds of historic Camp Dodge, Iowa, the headquarters installation of the Iowa National Guard. ASC utilized the modern training grounds to provide realistic environments to further evaluate the competitors' land navigation skills.
On day three, the competitors qualified with the M16 rifle and conducted Engagement Skills Training on the M2 machine gun and the Mk 19 grenade launcher. First-aid training and Army combatives were the order for the rest of the day, followed by an evening of night-fire exercises.
The competitors woke early on day four for the 175 mile trip back to the Arsenal where they conducted urban orienteering in the morning and spent the afternoon and early evening at Ramsey Test Track for their Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills evaluation. During that evaluation, the competitors were subjected to a high-tempo, high-difficulty assault course specifically designed to replicate combat conditions. During the course, the competitors were evaluated on individual and collective combat-oriented tasks. Finally, the day's events wrapped up after a two-hour night urban orienteering exercise.
Day five brought yet another early wake up as the competitors found themselves slogging it out to be the first to cross the finish line after an eight-mile road march around the Arsenal. Shortly after completion of the road march, the contestants were timed on their ability to disassemble, assemble, and perform a functions check on the M249, M240B, and M2 machine guns.
The Best Warrior Competition is open to all Soldiers in two categories. The NCO category includes Corporal through Sergeant First Class and the Soldier category includes Private through Specialist. Competing alongside Denton and Williams at this year's competition were Staff Sgt. Richard Alexander, Sgts. William Gerding and Michelle Pedro, and Spc. Leandra Dockery. Gerding is the runner-up ASC Best Warrior NCO of the Year and will represent ASC in the AMC event if Denton is unable to compete.
Last year, Williams took third in the AMC competition, and Staff Sgt. Robert Wilkins, ASC's 2011 Best Warrior NCO, took third place at the AMC competition.