FORT HOOD — Eleven soldiers from multiple installations competed in the 2017 III Corps Best Warrior Competition at Fort Hood this week.

Six noncommissioned officers and five junior enlisted soldiers fought for top honors in the four-day, multi-event competition that was designed to put their physical and mental endurance to the test. The event ended Thursday.

The soldiers represented units from across the corps, which includes military units at Fort Hood; Fort Bliss; Fort Carson, Colo.; and Fort Riley, Kan.

All participants had won lower-level competitions before earning a spot to compete in the III Corps event.

“The competition lets the soldiers set themselves apart and above their peers and gives them an opportunity to shine,” said Master Sgt. Sean Allison, who is in charge of the Best Warrior Competition.

The events included a 12-mile road march, leadership obstacle course, physical fitness test, weapons qualification, written test, and land navigation course. Competitors also had to appear before a knowledge/leadership evaluation board.

“Everybody wants to be the best and this (competition) gives them that opportunity,” Allison said.

For one soldier, the best but most difficult part of the competition was going up against soldiers from other installations.

“The most challenging aspect of this was competing with people from other installations because you don’t know what to expect,” explained Staff Sgt. David Fletcher, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson. “At your home station, you know people and know what you're competing against.”

Fletcher said he was motivated to participate in the competition by his desire to compete against others and find out where he stands among the best, but also believes it builds trust and friendship with each other.

“Anybody can do this, you don’t have to be the number one soldier in your entire (unit), you can start training and make it to this level,” Fletcher said.

Fletcher earned top honors and was named the overall III Corps Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, while Spc. Jared Bruce from the 36th Engineer Brigade earned the title of III Corps Soldier of the Year. Fletcher and Bruce will go on to compete in the U.S. Army Forces Command Best Warrior Competition at Fort Bragg, N.C. If either is successful there, the soldiers will continue on to compete for a chance at being named Army NCO of the Year and Army Soldier of the Year.

Sgt. David Perales, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, and Spc. Kayode Joseph, 1st Cavalry Division, earned Fort Hood’s NCO of the Year and Soldier of the Year honors, respectively. | 254-501-7553

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