Tag Archives: Fort A.P. Hill

Winners of Best Warrior Competition announced

By MARTHA C. KOESTER
NCO Journal

It was the final obstacle in a series of competitions that began many months ago. Twenty Soldiers from 10 Army commands underwent a grueling series of tests in the Best Warrior Competition last week at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.

It ended Monday, Oct. 3, at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C., with the announcement that Sgt. 1st Class Joshua A. Moeller, representing U.S. Army Reserve Command, won the 2016 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year award, and Spc. Robert Miller, representing U.S. Army Pacific Command, won Soldier of the Year in the Army’s premier competition.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey oversaw the 15th annual competition and called the Soldiers “the best and brightest our Army has to offer.”

Moeller, 36, is a cavalry scout serving as a senior drill sergeant with 2nd Battalion, 413th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, 95th Division, 108th Training Command. He is a 16-year veteran and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in engineering management.

Miller, 24, is an explosive ordnance disposal specialist assigned to the 74th Ordnance Company. Miller is a three-year veteran and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey speaks Monday at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Dailey announced the winners of the 2016 Best Warrior Competition. (Photos by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey speaks Monday at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. Dailey announced the winners of the 2016 Best Warrior Competition. (Photos by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

Competitors were praised for their mettle, and Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn told the audience it rained throughout the competition last week, further compounding challenges.

“The scope, scale and complexity of what the Army does every day is simply awe-inspiring and illuminates why we must remain trained and ready for the missions at hand while concurrently preparing for challenges that await us in the days, weeks and months to come,” said Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Daniel B. Allyn. “That’s why the Best Warrior Competition is so important, testing warrior aptitude and urban warfare, physical fitness, professional knowledge and warrior tasks. The 20 elite competitors from 10 commands represent the very best that America’s Army has to offer.”

During the first phase of the contest last week, Soldiers took the Army Physical Fitness Test, which included a 2-mile run, as well as a written exam on general military topics and a graded essay. They also demonstrated battle drills. If basic Army standards were met, Soldiers advanced to the second phase, which included an evaluation of their military appearance as well as board interviews from a panel of senior sergeants major.

Allyn told the Soldiers and NCOs in the audience they play a vital role in helping the Army battle current challenges while preparing for future ones.

“As you train our next generation, our Army needs your candid thoughtful feedback as we continue to grow and adapt the future force,” he said. “Your input is essential in the development of solutions, from refining our doctrine to acquiring the best systems, to approving the way we train and validating our operational concepts.”

Competitors in Best Warrior Competition compare trophies.
Runners-up and winners of the Best Warrior competition take the stage after being announced on Monday, Oct. 3, at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. From left are Sgt. 1st Class Nicholas Bogert, representing TRADOC, who came in second place for Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Sgt. First Class Iker Irmak, representing Army Medical Command, who came in third place for Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Sgt. 1st Class Joshua A. Moeller, representing U.S. Army Reserve Command, who won Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; Spc. Robert Miller, representing U.S. Army Pacific Command, who won Soldier of the Year; and Sgt. Mitchell Keeton, representing Army Materiel Command, who came in third place for Soldier of the Year. Not pictured is Spc. Trey Castor, representing Army Special Operations Command, who came in second place for Soldier of the Year.

Best Warrior competition closes first phase

• Warriors: See photos, read about all of the Best Warrior competitors

• Day 1: Competition begins with essay, weapons range.

• Day 2: Competitors face new challenges from SMA.

• Day 3: Competition keeps Soldiers guessing and moving.

NCO Journal staff report

The U.S. Army’s Best Warrior Competition shifted gears on Day 4.

The competition, which pits Soldiers and Noncommissioned Officers in competition for the coveted title of the Best of the Best in the Army, moved to a night-time setting for events Wednesday, the last day of the first phase of competition at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. The competition is a grueling, weeklong event that tests the skills, knowledge, and professionalism of 26 warriors representing 13 commands. On Wednesday, competitors completed a memorization test before taking part in a 12-mile ruck march through the crisp Virginia night.

The terrain of Fort A.P. Hill was expected to present a tougher challenge for Soldiers than the competition’s previous home at Fort Lee, Virginia. The change of venue was meant to allow for a more difficult terrain, which better emulates battlefield environments, according to Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey.

Soldiers who advance past the first phase of competition will be transported today to Washington, D.C., to take part in the second phase. The finalists will be taken on a staff ride through the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to experience the memorable and sometimes painful Civil War history preserved in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

“It’s the whole Soldier concept,” Dailey told the Army News Service in June. “We want to make sure everyone is well-rounded.”

Photos by 55th Combat Camera

2015 Best Warrior Competition begins with essay, weapons range

More on the competition:

By SGT. BRIAN GODETTE
382nd Public Affairs Detachment

Soldiers, competitors, warriors. Whichever title chosen, their arrival Sunday at the Fort A.P. Hill Army training installation in Virginia marked the beginning of the U.S. Army’s 2015 Best Warrior Competition.

Sgt. Maj. Steven Payton, Headquarters of the Department of Army G 3/5/7 sergeant major, had one message for all the Soldiers: “Compete, compete, compete!”

Not even the threat of a hurricane affecting the east coast could stop the 13 Noncommissioned Officers and 13 Soldiers from 13 different major Army commands from competing in an event that emphasizes excellence, professionalism and adaptability.

As the Soldiers stepped off the bus at the Asymmetrical Warfare Training Center with mixed looks of excitement, nervousness and curiosity, Payton asked them all a question.

“Is there anybody out there who doesn’t want to be here right now?” Payton asked.

The group remained silent, with only the wind blowing outside creating a sound.

“Exactly!” Payton said. “You represent what is great about this Army of ours.”

The competitors, accompanied by their unit sponsors, looked across at each other before focusing back on Payton who gave them his expectations.

“We know that you are the best in the business and we expect to see some dynamic things this week,” Payton said.

The winners of the competition will become ambassadors of the Army according to Payton, with the distinguished title of the best noncommissioned officer and the best Soldier across the Army.

“It’s going to challenge you, and that’s why you are here,” Payton said.

The competitors gave no illusion to the challenges ahead of them.

“I’m just trying to take it all in right now, and get my mind right,” said Spc. Adam Walton, a Army musician representing the Army Material Command.

“I know it’s going to be rough. The weather is rough, the terrain looks pretty rough, so I’m just getting ready for it all,” Walton said.

For many in the group, there was an anticipation to get the events — many of which are a mystery to the competitors — underway.

“I’m feeling a little anxious,” said Sgt. James French, a military satellite communications systems operator representing the Space and Missile Defense Command.

“I like to compete. I’m a big competitor, so I just want to get it going,” French said.

These competitors came to represent their respective units and commands, winning best warrior competitions at other levels of their command before arriving.

“This is a good group and looks like there will be strong competition,” Walton said.

While winning is the goal, the benefits exceed the immediate victory aspirations. Being able to get to this level also represents an opportunity for growth for the Soldiers participating and their units back home.

“For me, being a noncommissioned officer, I’ll be able to take this experience back to my Soldiers,” French said. “Not many Soldiers get to experience this, so I want to take it back to them and hopefully improve them down the line.”

Competitors began the essay and weapon-zeroing portion of the competition Sunday afternoon. While the essay portion is essential to the soldiers’ score, they were most interested in beginning the weapons portion, zeroing an M4 carbine on a 25-meter indoor range.

Sgt. Michael Hooks, a horizontal construction engineer from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 130th Engineer Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, representing U.S. Army Pacific Command, was among the first to finish zeroing his weapon during the first qualifying event of the competition.

“I’m feeling good so far,” Hooks said. “I think shooting is something everyone enjoys.”

Sgt. Lisa Vines, 382nd Public Affairs Detachment, contributed to this story.

Photos from the first day of the 2015 Best Warrior Competition are by Spc. Jamill Ford, Spc. Hayley Gardner, Sgt. Henrique Luiz de Holleben, Spc. Sandy A. Barrientos and Pfc. Michael Parnell.