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Two Fort Greeley Soldiers win Best Warrior Competition

Sgt. Gerardo Lopez, a military policeman with the 49th Missile Defense Battalion, and his fellow competitors from Alaska National Guard, stand at attention during the awards ceremony of the 2015 Best Warrior Competition on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 24. The Best Warrior Competition was designed to test Soldiers in a series of mentally and physically challenging events over the course of 72 hours to determine who the best junior enlisted and noncommissioned officers are in the Alaska Army National Guard.

Sgt. Gerardo Lopez, a military policeman with the 49th Missile Defense Battalion, and his fellow competitors from Alaska National Guard, stand at attention during the awards ceremony of the 2015 Best Warrior Competition on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Aug. 24. The Best Warrior Competition was designed to test Soldiers in a series of mentally and physically challenging events over the course of 72 hours to determine who the best junior enlisted and noncommissioned officers are in the Alaska Army National Guard.

U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Edward Eagerton/released

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Two Soldiers from the 49th Missile Defense Battalion in Fort Greeley won the title of “Best Warrior” in the 2015 Best Warrior Competition here Aug. 24.

Alaska Army National Guardsmen Sgt. Gerardo Lopez and Spc. Yamil Ramirez, both military policemen from the 49th Missile Defense Battalion, won the competition in the noncommissioned officer and junior enlisted categories.

The Best Warrior Competition was designed to test Soldiers in a series of mentally and physically challenging events over the course of 72 hours to determine who the best Soldiers are.

“We take candidates from every unit and test them to figure out who the best Soldier and noncommissioned officer is in the entire Alaska Army National Guard,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mike Nelson, branch chief of the 207th Multi-Functional Training Regiment, Alaska Army National Guard.

Among the competition’s events were an Army Physical Fitness Test, day and night land navigation, close-quarter battle drills, casualty evacuation, a written exam, and live-fire weapons ranges.

“My favorite part of this competition is getting together with the other Soldiers and competing against them head to head,” Lopez said. “The events aren’t what makes the competition hard, what makes the competition hard are the Soldiers to the left and right of you.”

For Lopez, this win marks his second time winning the title of Best Warrior. In 2012, he won in the junior enlisted category when he competed as a specialist.

“It’s a really tough competition,” Nelson said. “Starting from day one, they’re pushed physically in the first event, and it doesn’t let up for the next 72 hours. Anybody who comes out of this competition and wins it, they deserve to hold that title.”

By winning the state competition, Ramirez and Lopez will compete in the regional Best Warrior Competition, according to Nelson.

“If they win the regionals, which is based on a couple of states like Alaska, Washington and Oregon, they go on to the national level and compete,” Nelson said.

Aside from winning the chance to compete at higher levels, the Best Warrior Competition is used to determine the Soldier and NCO of the year, Nelson added.

“Competition is always good for Soldiers,” he said. “It gives them something to be proud of. The Soldiers go back to their unit holding the banner of the best Soldier for 2015. That’s something the unit that trained them can be proud of.”

 

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