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    National Guard Bureau’s Region Il Best Warrior Winners Announced

    National Guard Bureau’s Region Il Best Warrior Winners Announced

    Photo By Sgt. Kimberley Glazier | Spc. Carter Cooper and Staff Sgt. Alexander Wilkinson-Johnson were named the National...... read more read more



    Story by Maj. Erica Mitchell 

    29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

    Edgewood – After four days of competition, Spc. Carter Cooper and Staff Sgt. Alexander Wilkinson-Johnson were named the National Guard Bureau’s Region Il Best Warriors for 2024 in the soldier of the year and non-commissioned officer categories during the closing ceremony at Aberdeen Proving Ground-Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, on May 10, 2024.

    Spc. Cooper, an infantryman in the Virginia Army National Guard, and Staff Sgt. Wilkinson-Johnson, an intelligence analyst in the Maryland Army National Guard, will be moving forward to compete in the National Best Warrior Competition in Vermont later this summer.

    "This entire competition is what we do, it is what makes a Soldier a Soldier. Getting out there shooting, moving, and communicating is the baseline of what we are as Soldiers,” said Staff Sgt. Alexander Wilkinson-Johnson. “The advice that stuck with me the most throughout the competition is try your best, you always have to stick to it, embrace the suck and you just gotta keep pushing it, dig deep and find that drive to charlie mike even when you don't necessarily think you have it in you.”

    Each competitor was pushed to their limits and graded across multiple disciplines, including physical fitness, a combat water survival test, an obstacle course, marksmanship on many weapons systems, night to day land navigation, a 18.6-mile ruck march and military knowledge. Many of the activities simulated stressors Soldiers could face under combat conditions, while evaluating their adaptability and resourcefulness.

    "Being a warrior to me means doing what is right when no one is looking and being willing to do and try your best within everything you do,” said Spc. Cooper. “I joined this competition because I wanted to display the Soldier that I knew I was and this was a perfect opportunity for me to display that.”

    This year's competition was hosted by the Maryland Army National Guard and conducted with ten competitors representing their home states of Maryland, Washington, D.C. Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

    “The best thing about the Best Warrior Competition is that we will all play for the same team,” said Maj. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead, the adjutant general for Maryland. “Each Soldier wants to win and represent their state at the national level, but they all know that they will serve together if called for natural disasters or overseas deployments. The camaraderie and confidence built during this difficult and grueling competition makes us all stronger and more resilient for the next challenge the National Guard will face.”

    The competition serves not only to honor individual achievement but also to reinforce the Army values and standards of excellence. Winners are recognized as exemplars of the Army's highest ideals, setting benchmarks for their peers.

    The U.S. Army's Best Warrior Competition, established in the early 2000s, is an annual event designed to identify the Army's top soldiers and NCOs through rigorous physical and mental challenges. Reflecting the Army's commitment to excellence, the competition has evolved from localized contests to a comprehensive Army-wide event, emphasizing leadership, tactical proficiency, and resilience.



    Date Taken: 05.10.2024
    Date Posted: 05.10.2024 16:39
    Story ID: 470989

    Web Views: 118
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