Best Warrior
Staff Sgt. Kangata Bell (second from left) 244th QM Bn., leads a squad of AIT soldiers during a room clearing practice session. Bell and his squad were minutes away from the real thing, part of the 23rd QM Bde's Best Warrior competition held April 26-28.

FORT LEE, Va. (March 3, 2011) -For Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Vogt, it's simple:

"If I expect my Soldiers to do something, what better way to show them than to do it myself?"

Vogt, who has 18 years of service under his belt, will step up to the challenge and compete in the 23rd Quartermaster Brigade Best Warrior Competition scheduled to start Monday and run through March 11.

The 23rd's Best Warrior competition actually encompasses two events.

The Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year Competition, collectively nicknamed Best Warrior, is an event in which contestants showcase common Soldier skills. The winners will sequentially move on to the Combined Arms Support Command, Training and Doctrine Command and Department of the Army competitions.

The Platoon Sergeant of the Year Competition is for those Soldiers who currently hold the platoon sergeant positions within the brigade. The competition ends at the TRADOC level.

Like Vogt, Staff Sgt. Travis Glenn feels that competing in the event has its merits.

"As a leader, you're always looking for bigger challenges," said the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 244th QM Battalion Soldier who is a Best Warrior NCOY contestant.

"It's a big challenge to take on, but I want to prove to myself and my Soldiers that no matter what it is, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish it."

The NCO, Soldier and platoon sergeant of the year competitions feature a board appearance, Army Physical Fitness Test, weapons qualification and Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. WTBDs are those skills mostly needed to sustain Soldiers in field environments.

Because many of the contestants in the competition are platoon sergeants who regularly teach WTBDs to advanced individual training students, the board appearance may be the most critical event and one that drew mixed feelings from at least one of the contestants.

"When you stand before

members of a board, it is about how well you retain knowledge and your individual confidence – it’s you by yourself," said Staff Sgt. Mandy Allen, Co. C, 262nd QM Bn. "That’s always the mental battle for me about boards."

Vogt, a Co. C, 262nd QM Bn. platoon sergeant who will compete for NCOY, said all the competitions present a particular set of challenges for contestants. They include experience level, event familiarization and preparation time. He said the latter is far more critical than any other factor

"That’s the beauty about it," he said, noting that platoon sergeants average 14-hour days in AIT units. "There is no time to study, but as an NCO, you have to find time and hit it when you can."

Allen, a platoon sergeant with a five-year-old daughter, agreed with Vogt.

"When I go home, I’ll spend time with her and I’ll take an hour to study every night," she said. "If I study before I go to sleep, I’ll retain it. That’s the only thing that works for me."

A total of 13 Soldiers are scheduled to compete in the 23rd’s Best Warrior competition. Three have entered the SOY competition, six for NCOY and four for PSOY. The winner will be announced during an awards ceremony scheduled for March 11.