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    Female duo NJ National Guard’s Best Warriors: Grieco takes top enlisted, Catalioti top NCO

    NJNG Best Warrior 2023 Awards

    Photo By Spc. Michael Schwenk | U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Lisa J. Hou, D.O., The Adjutant General of New Jersey, right, and...... read more read more



    Story by Staff Sgt. Bruce Daddis 

    444th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst— When the candidates took the field for the New Jersey National Guard’s Best Warrior Competition on April 25, no female Soldier had ever won the competition before.

    Two days later, Spc. Laura Grieco, a signal support systems specialist assigned to Headquarters Co., 2nd Battalion, 113th Infantry Regiment, 44th Infantry Brigade Combat team, and Sgt. 1st Class Antonella Catalioti, a recruiter assigned to Recruiting and Retention Battalion, made history and took home the top enlisted and top non-commissioned officer awards, respectively. Grieco and Catalioti led the field of 13 enlisted and non-commissioned officers, April 25-27, 2023 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.

    The competition consisted of seven events: the Army Combat Fitness Test, M4 carbine qualification, M17 pistol qualification, day/night land navigation, stress shoot, 12-mile ruck march, and a board interview. The winners of the state competition advance to Region I, May 15-19, 2023 in Bangor, Maine.

    Grieco, a full-time home-school mother and piano teacher, was thrilled to take home the award.

    “I’m on cloud nine right now,” Grieco said. “I hope I can be an inspiration to my children when I go home. I have a long-term goal of wanting to get my ESB (Expert Soldier Badge), and I knew if I could make it through this, I could be closer to achieving my goal. As a Soldier who is set to deploy, I just want to be the best I can, and be an asset to my team.”

    Catalioti, a 21-year veteran, had previously displayed her grit in 2015, when she became one of the first female Soldiers Army-wide to earn the combat engineer military occupational specialty. She shared similar sentiments as Grieco when it came to such an accomplishment.

    “I’m still in shock that I won,” Catalioti said. “It was surreal. As a mother of 3 girls myself, they gave me the push to get through that day. I kept imagining I was carrying them all in my ruck and I just had to get to the finish line. It’s an honor to represent female Soldiers in the New Jersey Army National Guard.”



    Date Taken: 05.01.2023
    Date Posted: 05.01.2023 14:28
    Story ID: 443751
    Hometown: HOPATCONG, NJ, US
    Hometown: MAYS LANDING, NJ, US

    Web Views: 197
    Downloads: 0