CAMP GRUBER TRAINING CENTER, Okla. – Staff Sgt. Michael Lincks, Missouri National Guard, and Spc. Nicklaus Johnson, Texas National Guard, were named the winners of the National Guard Region V Best Warrior Competition in a ceremony in Oklahoma City, May 20.
The competition, held at the Regional Training Institute in Oklahoma City, and Camp Gruber Training Center, near Braggs, Okla., May 15-22, was a contest between six states in the region: Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Missouri and Arkansas, which challenged and tested the Soldiers both mentally and physically.
Lincks, a combat medic who works as a civilian registered intensive care nurse, was named the Region V Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and said he was confident in his abilities, but he was still able to learn throughout the competition.
“I think this is important for any Soldier of any military occupation specialty to compete in this event,” Lincks said. “It just kind of brings you back to the basics for the most part, tests you physically and mentally.”
Command Sgt. Maj. John Hernandez, the command sergeant major for Oklahoma, said the competition’s events were chosen because they represented basic tasks vital for Soldiers in combat by focusing on maintaining a ready force at the individual and unit level.
“We try to keep it down to the simplest task that you have to be able to complete in a combat situation. Under pressure, under fire, muscle memory, no hesitation,” Hernandez said. “Competitions play a great part in the readiness of units because these guys are training all year round – It means [Soldiers] are staying on top of their skills, they’re not starting from step one. They’re at a constant ready state.”
The Soldiers competed in eight events including marksmanship, an obstacle course and land navigation, all culminating in a 12 mile ruck march.
Sgt. Juan Martinez, a Soldier competing from the Louisiana National Guard, said he and many of the other competitors felt the ruck march was the most challenging event they faced.
“I’ve never seen a hill that steep before,” Martinez said. “It was so steep that you could touch it right in front of you.”
Johnson, the Soldier of the Year winner, said he hoped to gain experience by competing, and he was pleased he was able to take it further and compete at a higher level.
“I definitely think that I got a lot of training value out of this,” Johnson said. “It was a very good learning experience, something that I’ll carry with me through the rest of my career.”
Spc. Aaron Nunez, an infantryman representing the Arkansas National Guard, and runner up for Soldier of the Year, said that the competition is a way for Soldiers to pit themselves against each other in friendly competition, describing it as a place for them to learn from each other, and take that knowledge back home to the benefit of their peers and the National Guard at large.
“It’s important that the Army holds competitions like these because it gives Soldiers something to work towards,” Nunez said. “Overall, everybody’s going to learn something and be able to take it back to the unit and then utilize that to better the force.”
Lincks and Johnson will move on to the next level and compete against National Guard Soldiers from across the 54 states and territories at the National Guard Best Warrior Competition later this year.
|Date Posted:||05.22.2022 10:31|
|Location:||OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, US|
This work, Army National Guard Soldiers compete for regional Best Warrior, by SPC Caleb Stone, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.