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 | May 13, 2024

Maryland, Virginia Guardsmen Are Regional Best Warriors

By Maj. Erica Mitchell, 29th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

EDGEWOOD, Md. – After four days of competition, Spc. Carter Cooper and Staff Sgt. Alexander Wilkinson-Johnson were named the National Guard Bureau’s Region II Best Warriors for 2024 in the Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer categories May 10.

Cooper, an infantryman in the Virginia Army National Guard, and Wilkinson-Johnson, an intelligence analyst in the Maryland Army National Guard, will advance to the National Best Warrior Competition in Vermont this summer.

"This entire competition is what we do. It is what makes a Soldier a Soldier," said Wilkinson-Johnson. "Getting out there shooting, moving and communicating is the baseline of what we are as Soldiers.” 

Competitors were pushed to their limits and graded across multiple disciplines, including physical fitness, a combat water survival test, an obstacle course, marksmanship, night-to-day land navigation, an 18.6-mile ruck march and military knowledge. Many of the activities simulated stressors Soldiers could face under combat conditions.

"Being a warrior to me means doing what is right when no one is looking and being willing to do and try your best within everything you do,” said Cooper. “I joined this competition because I wanted to display the Soldier that I knew I was and this was a perfect opportunity for me to display that.”

This year's competition at Aberdeen Proving Ground-Edgewood Arsenal was hosted by the Maryland Army National Guard. The 10 competitors represented their home states of Maryland, Washington, the District of Columbia, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsylvania.

“The best thing about the Best Warrior Competition is that we will all play for the same team,” said Maj. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead, the adjutant general for Maryland. “Each Soldier wants to win and represent their state at the national level, but they all know that they will serve together if called for natural disasters or overseas deployments. The camaraderie and confidence built during this difficult and grueling competition makes us all stronger and more resilient for the next challenge the National Guard will face.”

The U.S. Army's Best Warrior Competition, established in the early 2000s, is an annual event to identify the Army's top Soldiers and NCOs through rigorous physical and mental challenges. Reflecting the Army's commitment to excellence, the competition has evolved from localized contests to an Army-wide event, emphasizing leadership, tactical proficiency and resilience.

 

 

Related Articles
Airmen assigned to 167th Airlift Wing fire the M4 carbine during weapon qualification training at the 167th Airlift Wing firing range, Martinsburg, West Virginia, June 7, 2024.
West Virginia Air National Guard Wing Conducts ’Super Drill’
By Senior Master Sgt. Emily Beightol-Deyerle, | June 13, 2024
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - The 167th Airlift Wing conducted an annual extended drill June 6-9 at Shepherd Field.In contrast to the standard two-day drill weekend, the four-day assembly is known as “super drill“ and offers more time...

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Patrick Harrington, left, explosive ordnance disposal technician with the Massachusetts Air National Guard's 104th Fighter Wing, and Senior Airman Benito Pacheco, EOD technician with the Nebraska ANG's 155th Air Refueling Wing, review X-rays of an improvised explosive device May 13, 2024, as part of the Audacious Warrior exercise at Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin. The nine-day exercise included over 70 participants assigned to the Air National Guard, U.S. Air Force Reserve and U.S. Marine Corps, as well as military EOD specialists from the Czech Republic.
Guard Conducts Explosive Ordnance Disposal Joint Training
By Senior Master Sgt. Paul Gorman, | June 4, 2024
CAMP DOUGLAS, Wis. - Explosive Ordnance Disposal technicians from multiple services and countries converged on Volk Field Air National Guard Base May 13 for the 10th annual Audacious Warrior exercise.The 115th Fighter Wing...

Army National Guard noncommissioned officers and Soldiers run the confidence course during the Region II Best Warrior Competition May 17, 2023, at Fort Barfoot, Virginia. The Soldiers and NCOs of the Year from Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia competed for the right to represent the region at the national competition in Alaska in July.
Virginia, West Virginia Guardsmen are Regional Best Warriors
By Mike Vrabel, | June 2, 2023
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...