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NEWS | Nov. 19, 2021

Warrior Mind

By Spc. Alexander Hellmann, 133rd Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Soldiers from all around Kentucky gathered to compete in the Kentucky Army National Guard’s Best Warrior Competition at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center in Greenville, Ky., Nov. 10-13, 2021. 
PHOTOS: Best Warrior Competition 2021 | Flickr

Kentucky's Best Warrior Competition is a series of events held over four days to test a Soldier's fitness, technical knowledge, and combat skills. The winners are awarded the opportunity to compete in Spring 2022 at the regional level. 
The first day started with the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) to assess the competitors' physical condition. The ACFT comprises several events, including the deadlift, standing power throw, pushups, sprint/drag/carry, leg tucks, and a two-mile run.  
 “I really enjoyed the physical part of the competition,” said Spc. Calista Robinson with the 138th Field Artillery Brigade. “The ACFT and the obstacle course were a great challenge but also really fun.” 
Soldiers also applied their skill and knowledge of the M4 carbine and 9mm pistol on and off the range. Range safeties from the Small Arms Readiness Training Section (SARTS) graded Soldiers on their accuracy in shooting targets and the ability to assemble and disassemble their weapons.  
“Supporting the Best Warrior Competition is one of the things that the SARTS team looks forward to every year,” said Maj. David Howe, the SARTS branch chief. “It’s a really great experience to see these troops out here competing." 
The competition also tested their knowledge of other weapon systems such as the M249 light machine gun, M240B machine gun, and the M2, .50 caliber machine gun.  
Day one finished up with a timed land navigation course. During this event, Soldiers were tasked with plotting several points on a paper map and using what they learned about terrain identification to walk to each location on the ground. 
“Night land navigation was definitely challenging,” said Sgt. 1st Class Chad Harris with the 223rd Military Police Company.  
He added that as a group, they stuck with it and made it through.  
“It was grind, but it is something that made us stronger as individuals.” 
Day two kicked off with a twelve-mile ruck march, where each competitor carried a rucksack weighing at last 35 pounds. This event was followed by a hand grenade range and then to the stress shoot events.  
“During the ruck march, I hit a wall,” said Spc. Chandler Johnson with Delta Company, 1st Battalion, 149th Infantry. “My legs cramped up, and it took everything I had, but I pushed through it. I am most proud of being able to get through that.” 
During the last day of competition, each Soldier cleared a series of structures against opposition forces using paintball guns, then practiced providing medical care to a practice dummy.  
The Combat Run was the final event. This challenge required competitors to run three miles with their weapons. Several stations throughout the route involved different mini-challenges like a timed event while carrying water jugs a certain distance or running from one point to another while wearing a gas mask. 
“It’s fun to know I made it through the competition; I was really exhausted but also really exhilarated by the time I was done,” said Sgt. Logan Kilmon, 1st Battalion, 623rd Field Artillery. 
State Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Withers recognized the Soldiers for their efforts and commitment to excellence during the awards ceremony on the last night of the competition. Among those recognized were Sgt. 1st Class Chad Harris as Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, Staff Sgt. Derrick Jones as Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, and Spc. Chandler Johnson as Soldier of the Year. 
“As a non-commissioned officer, it was great to see some of my former Soldiers competing,” said Staff Sgt. Derrick Jones with the 20th Special Forces Group Military Intelligence Company. Spc. Johnson was in my platoon in Air Assault School, so it is great to see my fellow Soldiers excelling in their careers.” 

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