Soldiers, Airmen vie for the title of Best Warrior in West Virginia

  • Published
  • By By Edwin Wriston, West Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office
  • West Virginia National Guard

Twenty-two Soldiers and Airmen from the West Virginia Army National Guard (WVARNG), West Virginia Air National Guard (WVANG), and the District of Columbia National Guard (DCNG), took part in the 2019 West Virginia Best Warrior competition at Camp Dawson, Kingwood, West Virginia. April 26-28, 2019.

The annual Best Warrior competition tests the physical abilities, leadership skills, teamwork and critical thinking of Soldiers and Airmen as they complete basic and advanced core warrior competencies. Events such as a six-mile ruck march, stress fire, obstacle course, swimming, and night and day land navigation test a warrior’s physical conditioning, while board interviews, public affairs interviews, and essay completion tests mental preparedness. Additional competencies included radio communications, grenade and claymore deployment and use, gas mask and personal decontamination operations, medical assessments and treatment, and detainee operations.

The intent of each task competitors complete is to highlight individual readiness and to officially recognize Soldiers and Airmen who demonstrate a strong, personal commitment to the Army and Air Force values and embody the warrior ethos.

“These Soldiers and Airmen competing this year are highly motivated and eager to learn,” said Sgt. Maj. David Lucas, non-commissioned officer in charge (NCOIC) of the 2019 Best Warrior competition. “So what we are doing is introducing them to these common soldier/airman skills they may not have trained on since basic training, or ever for that matter. So we are bridging a gap in training which is then making these individuals better prepared to go back to their units and provide that knowledge acquired here down to their peers and overall enhance the effectiveness of the unit and organization as a whole.”

“I was able to expose my strengths during those 48 hours,” said Sgt. Avery Liller, WVARNG NCO of the Year. “But, I also exposed a lot of weaknesses to myself. I am beyond blessed that at the end of the day I became the Soldier on top, because now I get to move on the next ‘race’ and get another opportunity to fix weaknesses I exposed and make myself better.

He continued, “This is a test during my personal journey that makes me take that next leap towards finding my full potential. And that’s why Best Warrior means so much to me.”

Winners of the 2019 West Virginia National Guard Best Warrior competition were:  Spc. Kendall Harris, assigned to Headquarters Detachment, 2nd Battalion, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) received the title of Solider of the Year and Sgt. Avery Liller, assigned to the 157th Military Police Company, received the title for the NCO of the Year for the WVARNG. Senior Airman Christopher Marcum of the 130th Airlift Wing’s Security Forces Squadron received the title of Airman of the Year and Staff Sgt. Gregory Fuqua of 167th Airlift Wing’s Security Forces Squadron received the title for the NCO of the Year for the WVANG.

West Virginia will host the regional Best Warrior competition with competitors from West Virginia, District of Columbia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland at Camp Dawson May 16-19, 2019. The winners of that competition will go on to compete at the national level at if they advance, will compete at the Army’s Best Warrior competition.