FORT CARSON, Colo. – Seven noncommissioned officers and Soldiers competed for the title of Best Warrior during the Colorado Army National Guard’s Best Warrior Competition, April 11 to 13, at Fort Carson, Colo.
Newly promoted Sgt. Benjamin Stocker, a CH-47 Chinook crew chief for Company B, 2nd Battalion, 135th General Support Aviation; and Sgt. Ryan Teter, a support specialist for Support Company, 5th Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne); took first place in the Soldier and NCO categories, respectively.
The competition is designed to push competitors to their physical and mental limits; testing their endurance, toughness and resolve.
Events included an Army Physical Fitness Test, a written exam on general Army knowledge, a 6.2-mile road march, a weapons-assembly competition, a rifle qualification, and day and night land navigation. The competition culminated with an interview before a board of senior enlisted leaders assessing the competitors’ leadership abilities and general military knowledge.
Competitors won a series of lower level competitions, earning them a recommendation from their brigade sergeant major to compete at the state level.
These Soldiers are truly in a class all their own, said Sgt. Maj. Doug Imfeld, operations sergeant major for the Colorado Army National Guard.
Teter said his motivation for the competition was largely drawn from his unit.
“A lot is expected out of a Special Forces support Soldier. I try to live up to those expectations,” he said.
“This competition represents the very essence of what it is to be a Soldier,” said Colorado Army National Guard State Command Sgt. Maj. Russ Hamilton. “Having the courage to step forward and challenge yourself – and maybe surprise yourself – to achieve a whole new level of success is what it means to be a true Soldier.”
One of the competitors, Spc. Joshua Davies, a unit supply specialist with the 169th Fires Brigade, said his family inspires him to stay motivated through the competition.
“I’m actually getting a little choked up thinking about them,” Davies said. “I actually brought one of my daughter’s blanket with me. I use that as my pillow – kind of a little good luck charm.”
Stocker and Teter will go on to compete at the Region VII Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition. Region VII comprises eight states and territories including Colorado, Utah, Guam, Hawaii, Nevada, California, New Mexico and Arizona. Winners at that level will then move on to the Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition.
“I am tremendously proud of these Soldiers,” Hamilton said, adding that they showed personal courage by taking advantage of an opportunity. “Hopefully, it will motivate others to step up to the challenge and do the same.”