FORT INDIANTOWN GAP, Pa. — Spc. Austen Jahnke, an Eau Claire, Wisconsin native and machine gunner with Company A, 1st Battalion, 128th Infantry, began an arduous three-day, 13-event competition against the best National Guard Soldiers from across the nation at 3 a.m. today at the 17th annual Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition.
“I am looking forward to taking everything I have learned forward to the next level,” the University of Stevens Point College of Natural Resources student and collegiate wrestler said after completing the regional best Warrior Competition in May. “It’s an honor to represent the state and region, but most importantly my unit which has helped me get to this point and I know will continue to support me going forward.”
To reach this level of the Best Warrior Competition is the result of finishing at the top of battalion, brigade, state and regional-level competitions — a journey that began several months ago. Each competition is slightly different, but each pushes Soldiers to the limits of their endurance as they test their abilities in physical fitness, marksmanship, land navigation, Warrior tasks and military bearing.
“It is an honor to have the opportunity to host this competition here at Fort Indiantown Gap,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Buck, the installation’s senior enlisted leader. “This is the ideal environment to test these Solders’ physical and mental toughness, endurance and skills with a wide range of Warrior tasks.”
Jahnke is among 14 National Guard Soldiers — seven lower enlisted and seven noncommissioned officers representing New York, Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky, Georgia, Illinois, Arkansas, Nebraska, Oregon, South Dakota, Colorado and Utah as well as Wisconsin — seeking to advance to the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia and the Pentagon Sept. 30-Oct. 5.
Last year, Sgt. Robert Kniprath represented the Wisconsin Army National Guard at the Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition.
Sgt. Zane Craig contributed to this report.