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By Spc. Jessica Elbouab, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment
The five-day regional Best Warrior Competition was held in
Eastover, South Carolina, and hosted by South Carolina Army National Guard Aug.
(Click the following links for additional photos from Day One, Day Three, Day Four, Day Five, and the Awards Presentation. A video of the event can also be found here.)
Participants included the best competitors from Kentucky and
seven other states.
day-after-day of physically and mentally draining warrior tasks and drills,
Spc. Aydin T. Chester, a member of Alpha Battery, 2nd Battalion, 138th Field
Artillery in Carrollton, Ky., was announced the winner of the Region III Best
"The schedule for the Region III Best Warrior was meant
to have little to no downtime for any of the competitors," said State
Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Withers of the Kentucky National Guard.
"Typically, these Soldiers started
their day at 4 a.m., and then were allowed to lay their heads down sometime
around 10 p.m."
The long days consisted of ruck marches, Army physical
fitness tests, weapons qualifications, Army knowledge boards, day and night
land navigation, combat medical drills, 100-meter swim test in uniform, and other
"I wasn't expecting
to win, but that didn't mean I was going to lay down and give half effort
through the competition," said Chester, the cannoneer from Crestwood, Ky.
"Everybody has their limits, but if you are self-aware and try your
absolute hardest, what more can you do?"
Chester's road to the regional competition was uncertain
from the beginning. The competition starts at a battalion level then progressed
to compete against others around the state. Chester was selected for the
battalion event just days before the competition took place. After taking the
top spot in the battalion and moving on to state, Chester placed second in
Kentucky’s Best Warrior Competition in October 2019.
"I was runner-up for the state competition, so I
thought my journey was over," said Chester. "However, about three
weeks before the competition, I got a call that said 'hey, the guy that beat
you can't go, so you are in!”.
Prior to this event taking place in South Carolina, Chester
lived a quarantine lifestyle dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. The late
notification of being accepted in the competition meant he then had only three
weeks to get back to his physical and mental best; which provided him a great
challenge during a time of uncertainty.
"He always had a never-quit mentality," said
Withers. "He truly put his best foot forward and he kept that positive
mentality. So, I think that is what earned him the honors of Region III Best
The next stop is the national competition for the specialist.
Chester and his leadership have taken note of the areas he needs to improve,
but this week he is dedicating his time on rest, recovery, and reflection of
his regional performance.
"I went off to this competition and I made sure I had
my Kentucky state flag with me, and my Alpha Battery flag too, so when I was
out there I could represent," said Chester.
The Best Warrior Competition is an annual event. Soldiers,
as well as non-commissioned officers, are encouraged to reach out to their
command team for information on how to represent Kentucky next year.
"For any Soldiers that wish to represent their unit, Battalion,
and Brigade--you have the right and the opportunity to do so," Withers
encouraged. "Don't ever quit. Keep digging one event at a time and you will
come away a winner; you could come away with the privilege to call yourself the
best warrior for your Brigade, Battalion, and potentially your state like