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    Pa. Guard Soldier wins Regional Best Warrior Competition, advances to Nationals

    Soldiers vie for Region II 'Best Warrior’ title

    Photo By Edwin Wriston | Staff Sgt. Erich Friedlein, 1st Battalion, 166th Regiment, Pennsylvania National...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Shane Smith 

    Joint Force Headquarters, Pennsylvania National Guard

    KINGWOOD, W.Va. – Twelve Army National Guard Soldiers from Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia competed in the 2019 Region II Best Warrior Competition at Camp Dawson, West Virginia May 16-19.

    Staff Sgt. Erich Friedlein assigned to 1st Battalion, 166th Regiment, Pennsylvania Army National Guard, was declared the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year at the conclusion of the competition.

    “I’m proud to be bringing positive attention to our state and my organization,” Friedlein said. “I’m thankful to have so many people helping me along the way. My chain of command, my wife and son, my friends and family, and my peers.”

    Competitors were evaluated on a variety of events designed to test their physical and mental fortitudes and assess the “Whole Soldier Concept.” The Soldiers were evaluated physically during events including a nine-mile ruck march, water survival, land navigation, obstacle course, and the Army Combat Fitness Test. Their strength of mind was put to the test during the written essay, appearance boards, weapons assembly and functions checks, and radio communications evaluations. Competitors were also evaluated on grenade and claymore deployment, weapons marksmanship, medical skills, and chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear (CBRN) operations.

    “It’s great to be able to show others that it’s possible to do well in competitions like this while still performing your other responsibilities. I’m still working as an instructor full time at the 166th Regiment at Fort Indiantown Gap, so I’ve had to dedicate personal time to preparing myself for this,” Friedlein remarked. “This is an obtainable goal any Soldier can aim to achieve,” he added.

    According to Friedlein there is a lot of value to get out of taking part in an opportunity like the Best Warrior Competition.

    “I’ve been in a variety of Army competitions in the past. What I like about the Best Warrior Competition is that it exposes you to other Soldiers, some of which are likely to have more experience than you in certain areas,” explained Friedlein. “It forces Soldiers to look at themselves objectively, take the time to become proficient at their warrior tasks, and strive to do their best. When Soldiers return to their units after the competition they’re better able to set the standard and make a positive impact.”

    Friedlein and winners of the other regional-level competitions will advance to the Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition held in Oklahoma July 13-20.

    Friedlein says his personal goals at the national competition include keeping a level head throughout the competition and preparing well enough that he isn’t blindsided by a task he’s not confident in performing. “I’m aiming to do the best that I can in hopes of coming out on top,” said Friedlein.



    Date Taken: 06.21.2019
    Date Posted: 06.21.2019 10:39
    Story ID: 328634
    Location: KINGWOOD, WV, US 

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