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NEWS | Nov. 1, 2023

Airman Joins California National Guard Best Warrior Competition

By Spc. Shae Cox, 69th Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - The California Army and Air National Guard jointly hosted their annual Best Warrior competition Oct. 23-26 at Camp San Luis Obispo.

This four-day event brought together 12 service members from major commands throughout the state, including the inaugural participation of an Airman, to compete for the title of best Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier in California.

“To contend for the title of California National Guard’s Best Warrior has been a challenge, but I came prepared,” said U.S. Army Pfc. Marck Anthony Rangel Garcia, 40th Combat Aviation Brigade. He trained for six and a half months before the competition.

Competitors faced rigorous physical and mental challenges, from marksmanship and leadership evaluations to written exams and physical exercises. The grueling competition was accentuated by the presence of the cadre, who not only oversaw the event but also participated alongside the competitors.

“As cadre members, we don’t just oversee the competition; we are in the trenches with our warriors. We sweat alongside them, we endure the same challenges, and we understand the demands they face,” said Sgt. Felicia Moffat, a cadre member for the event.

“This is my third year competing, and I do it because of the camaraderie with those that I serve with,” said last year’s runner-up, Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Johnson, 49th Military Police Brigade. “This year, there’s a whole other level of competitors — they’re hungry, they’ve been studying and planning. But I’ve got to see the very best version of them, and it’s inspiring.”

The mystery event, designed to test adaptability and critical thinking, was a significant hurdle. “To me, it’s about figuring out the next obstacle and just doing my best,” Garcia said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Yvonne Muchow, the command sergeant major for the 223rd Regional Training Institute, said she was proud of the competitors. “They exemplify the dedication and skill that California is known for,“ she said.

Competitors included:
-Spc. Regina Albarran Alba and Sgt. Clay Brown, 79th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
-Spc. Daisy Guinchard and Sgt. Alexis Medina-Esqueda, 115th Regional Support Group.
-Sgt. 1st Class Kyle Johnson and Spc. Kevin Mayorga, 49th Military Police Brigade.
-Spc. Isaias Maganda, Camp Roberts Training Installation.
-Sgt. Shayan Mirzazadeh, Joint Forces Headquarters.
-Pfc. Marck Rangel-Garcia, Combat Aviation Brigade.
-Pfc. Dziains Yafremenka, 224th Sustainment Brigade.
-U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Marco Specchierla, 144th Fighter Wing.



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