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 | July 10, 2023

Army Guard Soldiers Compete in Alaska to be Best Warrior

By Spc. Kinsey Geer, 124th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Fourteen Army National Guard Soldiers from across the nation are competing in the 2023 Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition hosted by the Alaska Army National Guard.

The Soldiers, competing July 8-13, are representing the seven regions across the nation:

Region I
Spc. Zakary Toothaker, Maine
Staff Sgt. Conrad Sheldon, Connecticut

Region II
Spc. Bret Williams, West Virginia
Staff Sgt. Daniel Abbott, Virginia

Region III
Spc. Jackson Jacobs, Tennessee
Sgt. Quentin Holden, Georgia

Region IV
Spc. John Shields, Iowa
Staff Sgt. Leo Kerfeld, Minnesota

Region V
Spc. Hunter Gammon, Montana
Sgt. Danny Tucker, Montana

Region VI
Spc. Luke Harrison, Wyoming
Sgt. Bailey Ruff, South Dakota

Region VII
Spc. Quinn Mears, Hawaii
Sgt. Cooper Hulse, Hawaii

The Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition is a testament to the organization's commitment to excellence and aims to recognize and celebrate the top-performing Soldiers in the nation. These competitors have successfully advanced through brigade and regional levels to represent their respective states at the national level.

Participants undergo rigorous evaluations by leaders who are subject matter experts in their fields. The assessments encompass a wide range of military skills tests, including physical fitness, weapons knowledge, marksmanship, land navigation, general military knowledge, and combat water survival.

"The Best Warrior Competition is the most effective way to test individual and unit readiness," said Staff Sgt. Luis Santos, a noncommissioned officer from the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment and a call for fire instructor during the Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition at JBER. "By overcoming challenges through various skills, obstacles, and mission sets, we can truly hone in on the basic Soldier skills that forge an effective and lethal force. It ultimately boils down to understanding the core basic fundamentals on every aspect of being a lethal Soldier within the United States Army."

The competition provides valuable insights and experiences for the competitors, leading to the adoption of new techniques and improvements within their respective units. These advancements contribute to the overall readiness of the Army National Guard.

Winners of this competition will represent the Army National Guard in the U.S. Army Best Squad Competition. This progression allows them to compete against the best Soldiers from across the Army, fostering camaraderie, encouraging personal growth, and providing a larger stage to showcase their abilities.

"I honestly believe that my fellow competitors are the best that the Army National Guard has to offer," said Spc. John Shields, a combat medical specialist assigned to the Iowa Army National Guard, representing Region IV. "We all come from different backgrounds, and because of that, we bring a variety of skill sets and knowledge to the competition, which we share with each other. It doesn't even matter that we are competing against each other for the title of Best Warrior; we have to look at it as the way the Army National Guard trains for the Army Best Squad Competition."

Command Sgt. Maj. John T. Raines, the command sergeant major of the Army National Guard, expressed his admiration for the competition's showcase of excellence.

"To just sit here and look out across these 14 best warriors from all across the Army National Guard, I think of how much of a reward it is just to see this view that we have," Raines said.



Related Articles
Alaska Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Sara Becker, a UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter crew chief assigned to 207th Aviation Troop Command, scans the area while waiting for passengers during the Weapons and Tactics Instructor Course 2-24 at a forward arming and refueling point near Marine Corps Air Station Yuma, Ariz., April 8, 2024. The training iteration marked the first time that conventional U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk aircrews participated in the highly competitive and rigorous joint training course that integrates all Marine aviation assets, ground forces, command and control systems, logistics and air defense.
Alaska Army Guard, Marine Corps Enhance Aviation Tactics
By Balinda O’Neal, | April 24, 2024
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. - Aviators from the Alaska Army National Guard graduated from the Marine Corps Weapons and Tactics Instructor course April 22, marking a significant moment in the evolution of Army-wide...

A 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II refuels a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk during training at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, March 23, 2020. During a March 30, 2024, medical evacuation mission from JBER to near Ruby about 175 miles west of Fairbanks on the Yukon River, HC-130 refueling was necessary to extend the range of the HH-60.
Alaska Air Guard Rescue Airmen Help 3 Over Easter Weekend
By David Bedard, | April 5, 2024
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Alaska Air National Guard rescue personnel of the 176th Wing medically evacuated a stroke victim from Bethel March 30 before rescuing two injured snowmachine riders near Ruby the same...

Framed by the tail of a 211th Rescue Squadron HC-130J Combat King II, a 210th Rescue Squadron HH-60G Pave Hawk, carrying 212th Rescue Squadron Guardian Angel personnel recovery Airmen, sorties from Unalakleet, Alaska, March 21, 2024. The HH-60 transloaded Guardian Angels to the HC-130 before continuing to Kotlik for a medical evacuation mission.
Alaska Air National Guard Medevacs Critically ill Patient
By David Bedard, | April 2, 2024
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska - Two Alaska Air National Guard Airmen jumped from a 176th Wing combat search and rescue aircraft into the village of Kotlik March 22 to expedite medical care for a critically ill...