FORT KNOX, Ky. – The 11th Aviation Command held its annual Best Warrior Competition here, May 1-4, giving Soldiers the opportunity to represent their unit and to determine the best warrior among them.
The first day of the competition proved to be rather grueling with an APFT scheduled for 5:30 a.m., a 50 question exam over basic military knowledge, a six mile road march complete with 35 pound ruck sacks and a two hour time limit, and both day and night qualification on the M4 rifle.
Spc. Daniel C. Walls from Headquarters Company of the 11th Aviation Command was the winner of the junior enlisted Soldiers. Enthusiasm from his sponsor, Staff Sgt. Jason R. Sutton, helped Walls get through the road march. “Every time I kept wanting to slow down a little bit, he kept saying ‘come on, come on, let’s go!’ said Walls.”
The second day was just as challenging as the first with a land navigation course, an urban assault course, and an evening urban orienteering course with five points spread out across a 1.5 square kilometer area around the base.
The weather was an obstacle for the Soldiers to endure throughout the competition. During the urban orienteering course held at night in the rain, Walls said, “It was quite nasty, with 2 inches of rain coming down on you and the wind blowing the rain sideways; I just couldn’t stay dry.”
The long hours were another difficulty for the Soldiers, testing their mental and physical endurance throughout the competition. The third day was no different, consisting of a combatives tournament, an obstacle course on a muddy, rain-soaked course, and a board to test the Soldiers’ military bearing under pressure.
Staff Sgt. David C. Parker from Headquarters Company of the 7-158th General Support Aviation Battalion was the winner of the non-commissioned officers.
Master Sgt. John Maroney, responsible for organizing this year’s Best Warrior Competition, was proud of all of the Soldiers involved. “Every Soldier and NCO that completed this competition was a Warrior in every definition of the term.
“They persevered through physical and mental challenges as well as environmental. Completing this competition from start to finish was an accomplishment in and of itself and they should all be proud of themselves. I would be proud to serve with any one of these Soldiers or NCOs,” said Maroney.
Walls and Parker will be representing their units at the Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition June 20-24 at Fort McCoy, Wis.