Fort Leonard Wood is scheduled to hold its annual Best Warrior Competition Wednesday through May 10 at locations across the installation with an awards ceremony slated for 1 p.m. May 10 on Gammon Field.
Officials said 21 service members will compete in this year’s competition, vying for the titles of Drill Sergeant, NCO, Soldier, Joint Service NCO and Junior Enlisted Service Member of the Year.
According to organizers, the 2019 competition will challenge service members in both tactical and technical aspects.
“Last year it was more focused on the tactical side and not so much the technical side, so we’ve kind of balanced that out,” said Sgt. 1st Class Ryan Somerlot, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence Operations noncommissioned officer in charge.
Sgt. 1st Class Carl Pope, MSCoE Operations Directorate of Training Division NCOIC, agreed and said the MSCoE command sergeant major issued them a challenge when creating the competition.
“This year’s competition will be more physically demanding, focusing on endurance as well as mental acuity, compared to last year,” Pope said. “Command Sgt. Maj. (James) Breckinridge wanted a ‘crucible styled’ Best Warrior Competition, and we believe that is what we designed.”
Somerlot said a few of the events added will put service members in challenging situations that will require the use of both mental and physical strengths to complete.
“They’re going to be operating on minimal sleep and should expect a fast-paced competition, there’s not going to be a lot of down time,” Somerlot said. “They will be continually moving from event to event, so there’s not going to be any getting to an event and sitting around.”
Winners of the Drill Sergeant, NCO and Soldier of the Year categories will go forward to represent Fort Leonard Wood in the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command level competition later this year.