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Home : News : State Partnership Program
NEWS | March 20, 2023

Indiana Guardsmen, Slovak Partners Compete to be Best Warrior

By Sgt. Hannah Clifton, 120th Public Affairs Detachment

CAMP ATTERBURY, Ind. - Indiana National Guardsmen and Slovakian service members competed in this year’s Best Warrior Competition March 17-19. 

The three-day competition tested basic Soldier skills like physical fitness, marksmanship and combat readiness. Events included an obstacle course, a medical evacuation exercise, multiple gun-firing lanes, a combat fitness test, a ruck march, land navigation and an appearance board.

Spc. Samuel Parker, an infantryman with A Company, 2nd Battalion, 151st Infantry Regiment, and Sgt. Christopher Swygart, an infantryman with A Company, 1st Battalion 293rd Infantry Regiment, outperformed their peers in below-freezing temperatures and high winds to earn the titles of “Best Warrior” and “Best Noncommissioned Officer,” respectively. 

Twenty Indiana National Guard Soldiers and one Airman participated in the competition. Slovakia, the Indiana National Guard’s partner in the 30-year-old Department of Defense National Guard Bureau State Partnership Program, sent three representatives to compete.

“We are proud of all the Soldiers, Airmen and international partners for competing this weekend. Resilience, effort and professionalism were on full display throughout the competition,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Zirkelbach, noncommissioned officer in charge of this year’s Best Warrior Competition. “This year was really special as we were joined by three outstanding service members from our partners in Slovakia. They raised the level of competition for everyone.”

Swygart said the competition “means doing physically demanding things when you’re already tired. To have won really brings a sense of accomplishment after all the effort put in. It means a lot to me to be able to represent my unit and the Indiana National Guard.”

Both Soldiers intend to compete at the regional competition later this year.