An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : News : Article View
NEWS | June 2, 2023

Virginia, West Virginia Guardsmen are Regional Best Warriors

By Mike Vrabel, Virginia National Guard Public Affairs

FORT BARFOOT, Va. - Virginia National Guard Staff Sgt. Dan Abbott and West Virginia National Guard Spc. Bret Williams took top honors in the five-day Army National Guard Region II Best Warrior Competition May 15-19.

Abbott, a 12N horizontal construction engineer assigned to Fort Barfoot, was named Region II Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and Williams, a 12W carpentry and masonry specialist assigned to the 922nd Engineer Detachment, was named Region II Soldier of the Year. West Virginia National Guard Staff Sgt. Avery Liller and Pennsylvania National Guard Spc. Nicolas Shaffer were named runners-up in their respective categories.

Eleven ARNG NCOs and Soldiers representing Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia competed, testing their physical and mental strength, stamina and endurance. 

“I have the utmost respect for these guys,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Irving Reed Jr., the Virginia Army National Guard command sergeant major. “We threw a lot of stuff at them this week and they dealt with it. I’m extremely proud of each and every one of them. Based upon what we saw, I think we’re going to be strong going to nationals. I think we’re sending two strong candidates, and who knows what might happen.”

The competition began with a written exam the day the Soldiers and NCOs from the region arrived at Fort Barfoot. The next day, competitors endured a 13-mile ruck march and Army warrior Tasks, including a grenade throw, communications, medical and weapons tests. Contestants then traveled to Virginia State University in Ettrick to conduct a combat water survival test. 

The next morning, the NCOs and Soldiers conducted a physical fitness challenge and a timed obstacle course. Later, the group tackled day and night land navigation. 

On the last two days of the event, the group competed in a timed multi-weapon challenge and conducted appearance boards before the recognition ceremony. 

Abbott, who placed first in the physical fitness challenge, the multi-weapon event, land navigation and the confidence course, said it takes more than physical prowess to be successful in this type of competition. 

“Physical preparedness was huge, and honestly, a huge part of it was mental toughness,” said Abbott. “It’s just being determined that you’re going to succeed no matter how bad it hurts. A competition that runs at this level —there’s no way that you’re going to be so physically prepared that it’s not going to break you off. These are built to break Soldiers down; that’s the whole idea.”

Williams, who finished the ruck march with the fastest time and performed strongly in the other events, credited his train-up for preparing him to win Soldier of the Year. 

“I think the best thing that helped me was the ability to get on ADOS orders before the week and really train up with my NCO,” said Williams. “He really pushed me to my limits while we trained. I did a lot of studying, physical activity and some shooting and land nav.”

Williams and Abbott will represent Region II and their states at the national competition in Alaska in July.

“I’m beyond excited,” said Williams. “I’m 25 years old, I’ve been in the state for 25 years, I love West Virginia, and I’m beyond excited.”

“I’m very excited,” said Abbott. “I moved to Virginia about five years ago, and I love this state. I’m very excited to go to Alaska and show them something.”
 

 

 

Related Articles
New York Army National Guard medics assigned to the Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion, 69th Infantry, conduct a road march in New York City May 16, 2021. In the 2024 Northeast region Best Warrior Competition, 16 Soldiers from New York, New Jersey and New England will participate in events across New York state.
New York Army Guard Hosts Regional Best Warrior Competition
By Eric Durr, | May 10, 2024
NEW YORK - The Northeast region Best Warrior Competition, hosted by the New York Army National Guard May 13-17, will be held at locations across the state.The 16 Soldiers from New York, New Jersey and New England competing to...

Command Sgt. Maj. John Hernandez, right, command sergeant major for Oklahoma, watches as an uncrewed aircraft systems operator pilots a UAS over the 2024 Oklahoma National Guard Best Warrior Competition at Camp Gruber Training Center April 26. This was the first time the OKARNG counter-UAS school integrated into the competition.
Oklahoma Guardsmen Face New Adversary in Best Warrior Competition
By Sgt. Haden Tolbert, | May 9, 2024
OKLAHOMA CITY - Guardsmen faced an emerging and rapidly growing threat in Oklahoma’s 2024 Best Warrior Competition.Participants were given 20 minutes to enter a heavily wooded area and camouflage themselves before sergeants...

Spc. Tevin Kenton, from the Wisconsin Army National Guard’s Troop C, 1st Squadron, 105th Cavalry Regiment, fires an M-320 grenade launcher May 3 during the 2024 Region IV Best Warrior Competition at Camp Dodge, Iowa. Kenton took first place in the lower enlisted division and will represent Wisconsin at the national Best Warrior Competition this August in Vermont.
Wisconsin Guard Soldier Wins Regional Best Warrior Tiebreaker
By Vaughn R. Larson, | May 7, 2024
CAMP DODGE, Iowa - A Wisconsin Army National Guard Soldier from Wausau will compete against the top National Guard Soldiers in the country at the national Best Warrior Competition in Vermont this August.Spc. Tevin Kenton, a...