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Vermont National Guard Logo News
News | April 19, 2024

Vermont Army National Guard Soldiers Compete in Statewide Best Warrior Competition

By Sgt. Denis Nunez Vermont National Guard

The Vermont Army National Guard has named its Best Warriors of 2024; Sgt. Zach Joseph of HHC, 3-172nd Infantry, and Spc. Zachary Keefer of A Co. 572 BEB, outscored their peers, earning the titles of Best Warrior among Non-Commissioned Officers and Junior Enlisted Soldiers, respectively.

They distinguished themselves by demonstrating exceptional skill, endurance, and leadership, earning them the highest scores during the two-day competition that featured a barrage of intense and demanding physical and mental tests.

“I had a lot of tough competition out there,” said Sgt. Zach Joseph. “Everyone was working so hard in every event, it really is an honor to have been able to say my effort earned me the win.”

Day one of the competition began with the Army Combat Fitness Test. The test is the current modern standard to measure physical fitness levels. Then Soldiers moved on to a written knowledge exam. This exam tests military knowledge and aptitude in a more didactic setting.

The Soldiers were then presented with the opportunity to impress a board of senior leadership. The Non-Commissioned Officers would face three Sergeants Major while the Junior Enlisted stood in front of a board of four First Sergeants. They each began by reciting the NCO Creed or Soldier’s Creed respectively from memory. A range of questions about Soldier skills, facing movements, land navigation techniques, leadership styles, and current events came next. Simultaneously the Soldiers were evaluated based on appearance and proper wear of their military service uniform in accordance with A.R. 670-1.

The evening culminated in a 300-meter stress shoot with the M4 rifle and a demanding land navigation course over snowy mountainous terrain. The Soldiers were given special Mountain traversing equipment to complete their timed event.

The second day tested endurance and combat readiness through a timed 8-mile road march, a combat simulation shoot using the M4 Rifle and various other soldier tasks including radio operations, casualty extraction and the execution of a 9-Line Medevac request.

Brig. Gen. James Pabis, Vermont National Guard Land Component Commander, presented the winners with Army Achievement Medals and his coin at the award ceremony on April 7. He spoke at length about how incredibly proud he was of each and every competitor for the efforts they put forth.

"The grit and determination exhibited by all participants were truly commendable," said Brig. Gen. Pabis. "Our soldiers left nothing on the battlefield, showing the kind of perseverance and dedication that define our Vermont National Guard members."

Sgt. Joseph and Spc. Keefer will next compete in the Regional Best Warrior Competition this June, aiming to further demonstrate their prowess. Sgt. Maj. Charles Palmer congratulated all the competitors and spoke about future events.

“You all put out such an outstanding effort over the last forty-eight hours,” said Sgt. Maj. Palmer. “I thank everyone who participated and made this a great event. Now we are looking forward to sending our winners to regionals in June and we are also looking ahead to August when we host the Nationals.”

Vermont will play host to the 2024 National Best Warrior Competition in August. The national event will bring even greater challenges and showcase the best warriors from each region across the United States. Each competitor participating in the national BWC will need to win their state and regional matches respectively.

“We are excited not to just host the National competition but to showcase our facilities at the Ethan Allen Firing Range to other states as well.” Said Sgt. Maj. Charles Palmer.

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