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La. Army Guard’s ‘Best Warriors’ compete for honors

By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office

PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana Army National Guard’s top 17 Soldiers from across the State competed in the 2024 Best Warrior Competition at Louisiana National Guard Training Center Pineville, Apr. 8-12.

BWC is an annual event that tests Soldiers and noncommissioned officers on their basic and advanced warrior skills. The top performers are named Soldier and NCO of the Year. Over the course of the four-day event, competitors undergo a series of exercises and scenarios designed to test their physical and mental capabilities.

Day one of the competition started with competitors receiving orientation and safety briefings from Command Sgt. Maj. Sud Robertson, LANG senior enlisted advisor – Army and competition staff. Immediately after, competitors changed into their Army service uniforms to conduct board interviews with the Joint Force Headquarters’ senior enlisted advisors and command sergeants major from across the State.

After concluding the board interviews, competitors were then assigned an individual essay to complete, followed by a weapons challenge event.

“The competition gave me the chance to practice using weapon systems that, in my job field, we rarely get to touch,” said Staff Sgt. Garret Hayes with 1st Battalion, 199th Regiment, NCO Academy.

On the second and third days, competitors conducted several events, including the Army Combat Fitness Test, individual weapons qualification for rifle and pistol, land navigation, an obstacle course and a stress shoot.

“I love the teamwork, but I also like doing obstacle courses and stress shoots to get the adrenaline pumping,” said Spc. Deaven Goleman with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 225th Engineer Brigade. “The most challenging part was having to go against all the great competitors. I really had to dig deep and push through to stand a chance against other DRUs’ [direct reporting units] best warriors.”

The competition concluded on Day Four with a mystery event and a 12-mile ruck march.

Hayes, a native of Deridder, and Spc. Jacob Myers, a native of Clanton, Al., and member of the 62nd Weapons of Mass Destruction-Civil Support Team, were announced as the competition winners and named LANG’s 2024 NCO and Soldier of the Year.

“The thing I enjoyed most about the competition was the friendships built with the other Soldiers,” said Myers. “I was surprised that I won. It was one of the best things I’ve experienced in my military career. I’m thankful for all the leaders that made this happen.”

During the awards ceremony, competitors were joined by Robertson, competition staff, as well as command sergeants major and commanders from across the State.

“Congratulations to all the competitors here, you did what I asked you to do at the in-brief, you gave 110 percent,” said Robertson. “Unfortunately, there are only two winners. In my eyes; however, each and every one of you in here who competed is a winner. I want you to hold your head up high and be proud of what you did for these four days.”

Hayes and Myers will represent Louisiana in the Region V Best Warrior Competition in Nebraska, May 12-17.

“It’s honestly an honor. I’m hoping to put on a good showing for ‘the boot’ and doing everything I can to make sure our State is represented well,” said Hayes.

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