From classrooms to low crawling, the Colorado National Guard’s best Soldiers will soon compete against those from eight of the country’s states and territories.
Eight Soldiers competed in Colorado’s Best Warrior Competition Feb. 2 and 3 at Fort Carson, Colo., for two slots in a regional competition that will once again pit Soldier against Soldier in a test of skills, Army education and endurance.
Tests included oral boards, firing both rifles and handguns, day and night land navigation, and performance in a simulated city designed to offer everything from rappelling to medical evacuation.
“The competition in this event is what brings out the best in these Soldiers because nobody wants to be last,” said the Colorado National Guard’s State Command Sgt. Maj. Ken Berube. “What we want to do with this exercise is select the best of the best who can perform well at both the physical and mental levels so we can send the best Soldiers forth to Region 7.”
In the end, it was two Soldiers with the Colorado National Guard’s Battery A, 3rd Battalion, 157th Field Artillery who excelled all around to become the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Soldier of the Year.
Sgt. Christopher Poquette, a multiple-launch rocket system crew member, said he joined the military to better himself in every avenue, and the competition gave him the opportunity to test himself and see how far he could truly go as a Soldier.
“(Winning) is a huge deal for me, really,” he said. “I feel like it’s a privilege to be able to represent the state of Colorado. ... Both my battery and myself are extremely proud to do it, especially since my lower enlisted Soldier is going to be doing it as well.”
Spc. Kenneth Weigang, a multiple-launch rocket system crew member in Poquette’s unit, won as the competition’s junior enlisted Soldier.
“Originally I was in the same vehicle as him, so we’ve been working together quite a bit and I’m extremely proud of him,” said Poquette. “The fact that both of us get to do it, I just can’t believe that both of us from the same battery won. It’s extremely exciting, I’m proud.”
Weigang praised the comprehensiveness of the exercise.
“I feel privileged and honored, not only to have been able to represent my brigade, but now to represent the state of Colorado,” Weigang said. “I think having an NCO and junior enlisted Soldier from the same battery representing Colorado shows how much care and effective training the senior leadership has dedicated to the unit.”This competition marked the second time ever that the Colorado Army National Guard Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Soldier of the Year represented the same unit. In 2006, the NCOY and SOY were both members of Battery B of the 3rd Battalion, 157th Field Artillery.