GREENVILLE, Ky –
Kentucky Guardsmen proved why they were deemed worthy to represent their respected brigades as they competed in the very challenging Best Warrior Competition (BWC) at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., Oct. 25-29 to determine who would be the 2018 Soldiers of the Year.
“This isn’t easy; this is a tough, tough competition,” said State Command Sgt. Maj. David Munden in his opening remarks to the competitors. “Leave it all out there. Don’t go home with any doubt that you didn’t do all that you could do.”
And the Soldiers did just that.
Competitors endured sub-freezing temperatures, rain and demanding physical and mental challenges over the course of the competition. Events ranged from weapons qualification, land navigation, a 12-mile foot march, a 3-mile combat run, stress shoot, close combat in urban operations, the obstacle course, media engagement, written exam, essay writing, board interview and dozens of Army Warrior Tasks, just to name a few. When it was all over, each Soldier had totaled more than 20 miles of running and marching in full combat uniforms.
“It was hard, it was exhausting mentally and physically but what helped get me through it was the other competitors,” said Pfc. Catherine Zembrodt from the Main Command Post Operational Detachment (MCPOD), 101st Airborne Division and winner of the Soldier of the Year. “Despite the competitive nature of the event we all helped each other get through it.”
When asked what he would recommend to other Soldiers wanting to qualify for the BWC, winner of the Senior Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Hughes from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry, said, “Don’t take this competition lightly. You are competing against the best of the best. Be humble, you will learn things that you didn’t know before or find out where you are weaker and can improve.”
“I was surrounded by fierce competitors,” said Noncommissioned Officer of the Year Winner, Sgt. Jordy Brewer from Alpha Company, 1/149th. “There are great Soldiers here and I’ve never been around this many Command Sergeants Majors. It was really motivating.”
This year, it was a sweep for the 75th Troop Command as all three of the competition ‘s winners were from units within that brigade. The brigade was singled out by Munden for this accomplishment in an indirect way of challenging the other brigades in next year’s competition. For the infantry battalion, this makes three years in a row they have had at least one competitor win their respected division and the second year in a row where they have had two of the three winners.
Munden also spent time thanking and acknowledging all those who supported the event stating, “This was the best ran BWC he had witnessed.”
For the Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer winner, they will compete at the Southeast Regional BWC next April in Tennessee.