Soldiers Compete in Best Warrior Competition
The South Dakota Army National Guard’s 196th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade held their Best Warrior competition June 8-10 at Camp Rapid, where 26 Soldiers competed against one another to be name the brigade’s best Soldier.
The Soldiers competed in five physical events that challenged their skills in land navigation, obstacle course, in-door rifle competition, eight warrior tasks and a six-mile road march carrying a 40-pound rucksack. Along with the physical tests, the Soldiers had to go before an interview board where there mental toughness was tested with an array of questions and a uniform inspection.
This competition was conducted to determine who will represent the 196th Brigade at the South Dakota Army National Guard Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year competition held in October.
This is the second year that the 196th has held the competition. In the past, Soldiers would only go before the board in their dress uniform, but now Soldiers must complete tasks they may face at the state competition level, said Command Sgt. Major George Arends, 196th senior-noncommissioned officer.
“What I was looking for in the interview comes from the Army Code of Conduct, ‘I am an American, fighting in the forces which guard my country and our way of life,’” said Arends. “We’re looking for the ultimate warrior that exemplifies that fighting spirit.”
Sgt. Jacob Vissia, from Plankinton, a member of the 211th Engineer Company of Madison, will represent the 196th in the NCO of the Year competition. Spc. Daniel Koupal, of Wagner, a member of Detachment 3, 155th Engineer Company in Wagner, will compete for Soldier of the Year.
The brigade competition gives us an opportunity to see where you are weak and where you are strong, said Vissia.
“A lot of people don’t get the exposure of reporting to a board. So it was good to get the opportunity to better yourself and hone your skills,” said Vissia. “I need to keep studying for the board, so I can do a good job of presenting myself in a military manner and be able to answer questions properly.”
Vissia and Koupal will compete against other Soldiers in October at Camp Rapid to determine who will go on to represent the state at the Region 6 Best Warrior competition.