News: SC National Guard soldiers battle for title of Best Warrior
Story by Capt. Brian Hare
EASTOVER, S.C. – The South Carolina Army National Guard conducted the annual Best Warrior Competition at McCrady Training Center Jan. 27-31, 2014. The event was hosted by the South Carolina National Guard’s 218th Regiment (Leadership).
At the end of the weeklong competition, the title of Best Warrior goes to Spc. Aaron Drummer of the 218th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade in the junior enlisted category and Sgt. Brandon Bright of the 228th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade in the noncommissioned officer category.
Eleven competitors from across the state competed in events such as a physical fitness test, urban operations course, stress shoot, and land navigation course that was conducted before sunrise. The field competition culminated with an arduous “mystery event” that tested the skills and resolve of each competitor, as none of them knew the challenges that were to be met until they were actually on the course.
“The competitors have done extremely well,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joan Keese, the event coordinator and noncommissioned officer-in-charge, as the competition drew to a close.
This year’s competition was even more challenging for the competitors due to the harsh conditions brought about by Winter Storm Leon. Despite these conditions, the Best Warrior Competition went forward as planned, and the competitors proved their mental and physical toughness by giving their all despite having to deal with snow, ice, and harsh temperatures throughout much of the weeklong event.
The performance of all 11 competitors was praised by the speakers at the awards banquet that followed the competition, which included last year’s state noncommissioned officer winner, Staff Sgt. Jesse Mullinax, the South Carolina National Guard State Command Sgt. Maj. Robert H. Brickley, Jr., and the National Guard Bureau Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley.
The awards banquet speakers also applauded the competitors for the level of commitment it takes to be selected for the competition and to prepare for the individual events after being selected.
“The future looks extremely bright for the South Carolina Army National Guard,” said Brickley.