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    27th Infantry Brigade’s Best Warriors to compete in NY Army National Guard competition

    27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team FY22 Best Warrior Competition

    Photo By Avery Schneider | Spc. Brandon Snyder, an infantryman assigned to the New York Army National Guard's 2nd...... read more read more



    Story by Avery Schneider 

    New York National Guard

    NIAGARA FALLS, NY — Fifteen Army National Guard Soldiers from across New York State spent three days in rigorous competition to find out who would be recognized as “Best Warrior” of the Syracuse-based 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.

    Spc. Austin Manville, 22, of Rochester and Sgt. Brandon Clemente, 26, of Poughkeepsie were named the brigade’s best warriors in the Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer categories.

    Manville and Clemente, both Infantryman, are assigned to the brigade’s 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment and 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry Regiment, respectively. Both will compete in the New York Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition in 2022.

    Joining them at the state-level competition will be the brigade’s runners up, Spc. William Smith, an Infantryman from Buffalo, and Sgt. Zachary Marafioti, a Cavalry Scout from Rochester, both assigned to 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment.

    Each of the Soldiers who competed previously won their individual battalion-level best warrior competition. Getting from there to the brigade level requires months of training while on duty with the National Guard, and extra effort during personal time out of uniform.

    “A lot of hours of training and studying to prepare, a little bit of lost sleep. But it's what's necessary,” Clemente said. “You’ve got to put the time in if you want to win.”

    Manville works as a full time member of the New York National Guard Honor Guard. Clemente is an Asset Protection Specialist at Home Depot.

    At a welcome brief Thursday, Command Sgt. Maj. Edwin Garris, the 27th IBCT’s senior enlisted leader, told each of the competitors the Best Warrior Competition was an opportunity to set themselves apart from their peers.

    “If this was easy, this room would be full,” he said. “Continue to believe no matter how tough it gets.”

    With one challenging event after another leaving little time for rest, the competition was designed to be a test of skill, endurance, and mental fortitude.

    The first event took place Thursday evening – a formal appearance board in which each of the 15 Soldiers was interviewed by a panel of the brigade’s Command Sergeants Major. They were judged on presentation, appearance of their Army Service Uniform, and knowledge of military tactics, regulations, and current events.

    Just after midnight, the Soldiers set out along the Niagara River to Niagara Falls on a 12 mile ruck march with a three hour time limit. Before sunrise on Friday, they began a land navigation course. After plotting points on paper maps, each Soldier was back on their feet with a compass in hand, hiking through challenging woodland terrain to find four points in five hours or less.

    A “modified murph” workout Friday afternoon demanded 100 pull-ups, 200 push-ups and 300 air squats, sandwiched between two one-mile runs – all within one hour.

    By that point, the Soldiers were feeling the stress and strain of the competition, but every one pushed forward.

    “A lot of it is just staying mentally tough and knowing that it's going to end, and you are the one – I was the one – that's going to decide how it ended,” Manville said. “Sure I'm tired. Sure my legs didn't feel like they were at 100%. But if I stopped, if I didn't give it my all, and if I didn't win, that would hurt a lot more in the long run.”

    On Friday afternoon, the competition focused on combat skills.

    A stress shoot required each Soldier to drag a medical dummy to safety, while firing their rifle, a shotgun, and a pistol. The shoot scenario finished with each competitor calling for medical evacuation over a radio and launching a smoke grenade to signal for a landing zone.

    At separate locations nearby, the Soldiers were tested on their ability to assemble and utilize a SINCGARS radio to give a spot report, assemble, disassemble and perform a functions check of the M2 machine gun, and treat a casualty under fire.

    After their first rest period in 24 hours, the Soldiers were back in action Saturday before the sun came up, completing an Army Combat Fitness Test. The six-event test included a three repetition maximum deadlift, a standing power throw, hand release push-ups, a sprint-drag-carry relay, hanging leg tuck and a two-mile run.

    The final challenge – a “mystery event” revealed when it began – was a two page essay. The Soldiers demonstrated critical thinking skills as they were asked to write about what the Army is doing to combat corrosive issues – suicide, sexual harassment and assault, and racism – and how they think the organization can continue to improve.

    While the competition pitted Soldiers from the 27th IBCT’s battalions against each other, it was also an opportunity for them to train and learn together.

    “It was mutual respect all around from all the competitors,” Clemente said.

    “Events like this are important for camaraderie between the battalion, the brigade, and also to build future leaders and to motivate everyone else.”

    Garris told the Soldiers each of them should now be striving to earn the Army’s Expert Soldier, Infantryman or Field Medical Badges. And, based on their skills and experience, he said each of the competitors has the potential to be a future First Sergeant, Sergeant Major, and even Command Sergeant Major.

    Clemente, Manville and the runners up will continue to train for the NYARNG Best Warrior Competition in 2022. Clemente said he will focus on his running and overall fitness, while Manville wants to improve his hands-on skills with weapons and infantry tasks.

    Manville summed up what competitors at the next level should know: “I’m coming. I want it all,” he said.



    Date Taken: 10.24.2021
    Date Posted: 10.24.2021 20:33
    Story ID: 407877
    Location: NIAGARA FALLS, NY, US 
    Hometown: BUFFALO, NY, US
    Hometown: POUGHKEEPSIE, NY, US
    Hometown: ROCHESTER, NY, US
    Hometown: SYRACUSE, NY, US

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