MARSEILLE, Ill. - For the second time in three years, the Wisconsin Army National Guard is sending two soldiers to contend for the honor of being named Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year for the entire Army National Guard.
Sgt. Edward Schmitt, of Lake Mills, Wis., a member of the 54th Civil Support Team, and Spc. Brandon Byrne, of Oak Creek, Wis., a member of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 127th Infantry, each won the Region IV Best Warrior Competition which concluded May 16 at Marseilles Training Center in Marseilles, Ill. They will advance to the National Guard Best Warrior Competition July 21-25 at Camp Robinson, North Little Rock, Ark.
Schmitt and Byrne competed against the best soldiers from Illinois, Michigan, Iowa, Ohio, Minnesota and Indiana.
Command Sgt. Maj. Bradley Shields, the senior enlisted adviser for the Wisconsin Army National Guard, congratulated the Soldiers on their achievement.
"This was a competition of the best of the best, and their accomplishment is tremendous," Shields said. "It speaks volumes for the enlisted and NCO corps in the state of Wisconsin."
The winners of the National Guard Best Warrior Competition will advance to the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition.
The Wisconsin Army National Guard has recent experience competing at the national level. In 2011 Sgt. Steven Dahl and Sgt. Brandon Swanson — both of the 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry — vied for the crown at the National Guard Best Warrior Competition. Pfc. Randy Fendryk of Battery C, 1st Battalion, 121st Field Artillery, competed for the National Guard's Soldier of the Year honors in 2010. Spc. John Wiernasz of the 950th Engineer Company also vied for the Soldier of the Year crown in the 2009 National Guard Best Warrior Competition.