News: Nevada soldiers participate in best warrior competition
Story by Spc. James Pierce
RENO, Nev. - A soldier with the 422nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion won Soldier of the Year in Nevada’s Best Warrior Competition March 29 at Camp Stead, narrowly beating out another soldier hospitalized during the event.
Spc. Danny Montano, 22, of Las Vegas, won the competition against three lower-enlisted soldiers, each winners of their battalion’s championship. He moves on to compete for the regional championship May at Camp Williams, Utah.
Two other Soldier of the Year competitions — for best first sergeant and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year — were also held in the four-day annual event.
“For years, I have wanted to compete in this competition so I can show what the 422nd is all about,” said Montano, of Charlie Company in the 422nd. “It took me two years to get into the best warrior competition and I’m proud. When I go to regionals I hope to make my state proud, too.”
Montano said the state competition was more difficult than the battalion competition.
“This competition was a lot more aggressive and rigorous,” Montano said. “You have the best soldier from each battalion challenging you — making it more intense.”
Most of that challenge and intensity came from Pfc. Steven Scheid of the 485th Military Police Company.
Scheid won the competition’s first four events, but suffered a hip injury during the land navigation portion on the third day and was unable to finish.
Scheid was taken to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center after he strained his hip flexors. Scheid was looking for the first point in the competition while walking down a hill in Hungry Valley, he said. That’s when sharp pain went down his leg, which led to the injury. He is recovering and was placed on one week of rehabilitation, he said.
“It was really hard having to go back,” said Scheid, who hopes to return to the event next year. “I had already come so far.”
Scheid had jumped out of the gates running the two-mile competition in less than 13 minutes.
Additionally, soldiers competed in a seven-mile ruck march, racing for the fastest time, which Scheid won. Montano finished in second in the ruck march.
After a marksmanship competition and quick visit before appearance boards to showcase their knowledge on proper uniform wear, the points were counted, and out of the 10 participants, three winners were named.
Sgt. Jose Ramirez, a combat engineer from the 609th Combat Engineer Company, was selected as the winner in the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year competition and will move on to the regional competition at Camp Williams, Utah.
Ramirez said he was surprised to take home the win.
“I was shocked,” he said. “I just wanted to represent my unit.”
First Sgt. Edward Franco won the first sergeant of the year competition. The first sergeant of the year competition, held in Nevada for the past 15 years, does not include a regional competition.
If Montano and Ramirez win the regional competition, they move on to the Army National Guard Best Warrior competition in July at Camp Joseph T. Robinson, Arkansas against Army National Guard soldiers around the country.
Last year, Nevada’s best soldier, Spc. Nathaniel Hill, of the 485th, placed third in the regional competition.
“This year we’re hoping to get the national title,” Nevada State Command Sgt. Maj. Jared Kopacki said.