Each year, III Corps hosts the III Corps Best Warrior competition where Soldiers will compete representing their respective installations: Fort Carson, Colorado; Fort Riley, Kansas; Fort Sill, Oklahoma; and Fort Bliss and Fort Hood in Texas. At the end of the competition, there is a winner selected as the Soldier of the Year and the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. Those winners will go on to compete at the Forces Command level competition.
Having already proved themselves at division and installation levels, only two competitors, the winners of this year’s competition, will continue on.
During this year’s Best Warrior competition, there are five Noncommissioned officers and five soldiers from five installations and four different divisions competing, said Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel T. Hendrex, III Corps Command Sergeant Major.
The competition events occurred over four days, allowing the soldiers roughly three to four hours of sleep per night. These events included a modified fitness test, combatives, day and night land navigation, situational training lanes, a 12-mile ruck march, a weapons qualification range (M4 rifle, M9 pistol, and M240B machine gun), the Army Combat Fitness Test, and a board appearance.
At nearly every event throughout the competition, tests were given to examine how well the Soldiers knew their Level I tasks. The competitors were not only tested physically by these events but mentally as well.
For their brave demonstration of physical and mental toughness, Staff Sgt. Michael Nixon, 226th Military Police Detachment, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade, was awarded the III Corps Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Spc. David Chambers, Crazy Horse Troop, 1st Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, won the III Corps Soldier of the Year.
“Overall, the competition was very rigorous but at the same time, very valuable to the training that we do. Overall, it was a really good experience,” said Chambers about this year’s competition.
Chambers is assigned to Fort Hood where he works as a Fire Team Leader for Crazy Horse Troop, 1st Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment.
Chambers also voiced that the competition showed him where his strengths and weaknesses lie, so that he could work on them moving forward and be more equipped for combat in the future.
“These competitions are great because they’re skill level I-based, basic soldiering skills practiced to the extreme, that accurately prepare soldiers for combat,” said Nixon.
Nixon is currently a Squad Leader for 226th Military Police Detachment, 720th Military Police Battalion, 89th Military Police Brigade assigned to Fort Hood.
Both Nixon and Chambers and many of the other competitors found the 12-mile ruck march to be the most grueling part of the competition. It was the last event that they had to accomplish, and after days of little to no rest, the ruck would test all of the competitors minds, bodies and spirits.
“Despite how hard the tasks were, no Soldier or NCO showed any signs of giving up, and that’s what was really inspiring about this year’s group of individuals,” said Hendrex.
From here, the winners will progress to compete at the Forces Command level, representing III Corps. The stakes are higher, the competitors are more cutthroat, and the pressure is on.