The path to determining the region’s best National Guard Soldier and noncommissioned officer runs through Wisconsin next week.
The Wisconsin National Guard will host the Region IV Best Warrior Competition May 7-10 at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin. Spc. Austin Jahnke of Company A, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry in Menomonee, Wisconsin, and Sgt. Clayton Smith of Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 120th Field Artillery in Berlin, Wisconsin, will face off against top competitors from Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio for the right to advance to the National Guard Bureau competition July 23-27 at Indiantown Gap, Pennsylvania.
“Competitors can expect events that are based on what they might see in combat,” explained Command Sgt. Maj. Rafael Conde, the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s senior enlisted leader, and host of the 2018 Region IV Best Warrior Competition.
The Best Warrior Competition is a grueling three-day test of a Soldier’s endurance, mental toughness and military skills such as marksmanship, land navigation and first aid. Non-combat military skills will be tested as well, such as knowledge of Army topics, a formal board appearance in the dress uniform, and proficiency in effective writing for Army leaders — sometimes referred to as writing in the Army style.
Conde said a team of Wisconsin Army National Guard noncommissioned officers attended last year’s Region IV and National Guard Bureau Best Warrior competitions to prepare for hosting this year’s regional competition.
“Of course, every year changes to the competition will occur,” Conde said. In fact, changes have already been incorporated since Jahnke and Smith won the state Best Warrior Competition April 5-8.
“In order to make it fair for competitors from other states, we will be using different ranges, different locations and different events,” Conde said. “This is not just to ensure a fair competition, but also to show Soldiers from across the region what Fort McCoy has to offer as a training site.”
The competition at Fort McCoy is not open to the public, but the public can follow live updates on the Wisconsin National Guard Facebook page, as well as photos from each day of the competition on the Wisconsin National Guard Flickr site.