FORT LEE, Va. (Nov. 14, 2013) -- Three sustainment Soldiers will be among the 24 individuals competing for the titles of U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer or Soldier or the Year at Fort Lee next week.
Staff Sgt. Andrew Gregory and Sgt. Ryan Lewis, both 88-November transportation management coordinators, will represent the Army Material Command, and Pfc. George Smith, a 92-Yankee unit supply specialist, will represent the Army Special Operations Command during the annual Best Warrior Competition that draws top troops from around the world. Twelve major Army commands in all are represented. The event is overseen by the Sergeant Major of the Army and organized by the Combined Arms Support Command.
“I’m ready to show my fellow non-commissioned officers, other Soldiers and my children that you can accomplish anything if your desire and will are strong enough,” said Gregory, who is stationed at Rock Island, Ill. “(This journey) represents a lot of mentorship and training from my previous leaders. All of it has culminated into something great, and I’m ready to truly show what the NCO Corps can do.”
“I see this as another chance to earn respect from my family, peers and (chain of command),” said Smith, a 3rd Military Information Support Battalion (Airborne) Soldier at Fort Bragg, N.C. “I want to demonstrate my future potential to be a successful leader who sets the standard for others to emulate.”
The field of competitors for Best Warrior this year also includes a heavy construction equipment operator from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash., a military policeman from Fort Wainwright, Alaska, a military lab technician from Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., and a combat engineer from Schwienfurt, Germany, among others. Reservists and National Guardsmen are also in the mix. The level of Army experience ranges from one to 17 years. A complete list of the competitors with biographical information and photos is available at the Best Warrior 2013 website, www.army.mil/bestwarrior/2013.
After their arrival on Monday and Tuesday, the competing Soldiers will face a series of “successive and unexpected challenges that will make it a complex, real-world-oriented competition,” according to an event news release.
“During the three-day competition,” it continued, “these elite warriors will test their Army aptitude, conquering urban warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams, and warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today’s operating environment. In addition, they will go before a selection board comprised of six senior sergeants major from across the Army. This board, chaired by Sergeant Major of the Army Ray Chandler, evaluates competitor appearance, military bearing and knowledge of critical Army topics.”
Winners will be announced on the evening of the final day of the competition, Nov. 22, at the Lee Club. This is the first year that the awards ceremony will be conducted here, and it will be broadcast live at www.dvidshub.net. The Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year will receive prestigious honors in recognition of their achievements and represent the Army at special events throughout their 2013-2014 tenure.
Best Warrior was originally scheduled for Oct. 15-17, but the partial government shutdown forced the SMA to postpone the competition. In an earlier article about that delay, Chandler expressed his appreciation to the participating Soldiers and the many individuals who planned and coordinated the competition.
“My sincere thanks goes out to everyone,” he said. “Whether you’re assigned to Fort Lee or other nearby commands, I know you have studied, practiced and prepared to be part of the cadre and support staff that will make this event a success very soon. I appreciate your commitment – and your flexibility.”
During Best Warrior week, the event website will feature daily photo uploads, video clips and articles written about the competitors.