CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait –
The Third Army/U.S. Army Central Command “Best Warrior” Noncommissioned Officer/Soldier of the Year Competition was held at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, June 4-7. The competition tested five NCOs and three soldiers on basic warrior task and drills; night and day land navigation; marksmanship; a written exam; an Army physical fitness test and a formal board.
The eight soldiers were chosen to compete in the competition by their respected units throughout the Third Army area of operations.
“Any NCO of the Year or Soldier of the Year competition is a win-win,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Stephan Frennier, Third Army/USARCENT command sergeant major. “It’s a win for the competitor because as they prepare themselves, they make themselves better soldiers and better NCOs. It’s a win for their unit because they will have better soldiers and better NCOs.”
The soldiers endured early mornings and intense heat throughout the competition. Some of the task they had to complete required them to wear their complete body armor in more than 100-degree weather.
“I feel like I did very well today,” said Spc. Lane McCartney, USARCENT Special Troops Battalion light wheel vehicle mechanic after firing his M16 rifle at the marksmanship event. “However, I won’t know how I did until the end of the competition.”
The Third Army/USARCENT “Best Warrior” NCO/Soldier of the Year award ceremony was held June 8 at Camp Arifjan. Joining the competitors to celebrate their accomplishments was Third Army/ARCENT Deputy Commanding General Operations, Maj. Gen. Gary H. Cheek.
The winner of the Soldier of the Year went to Spc. Bryan Haworth of New Mexico National Guard, 1st Theater Sustainment Command (Task Force Sinai).
“It’s such an honor, and I thank everyone back home who supported me and kept me in their prayers,” said Haworth. He also said that he is debating whether to join the active-duty service after his deployment is complete and plans to continue climbing the NCO ladder.
The winner of the NCO of the Year was awarded to Staff Sgt. Jeremy Jackson, also from the New Mexico National Guard, 1st Theater Sustainment Command (Task Force Sinai).
“It’s a good feeling to know that all the training and hard work I went through paid off,” said Jackson. “I am just going to continue to train for the next stage and hopefully train my soldiers to take the same steps I did to get to this level.”
Jackson and Haworth will go on to the U.S. Forces Command NCO/Soldier of Year competition at Fort Bragg, N.C., in July.