CAMP DAWSON, WV –
The District of Columbia Army National Guard held its annual state-level Best Warrior Competition from Apr. 21-23 at Camp Dawson, West Virginia. Pfc. Aikhim Hart, Spc. Michael Maglad, Sgt. Lashanta Lucas, and Ofc. candidate Ge Wang competed in three days worth of events consisting of a six-mile ruck march, land navigation, swim test, obstacle course, conducting combat casualty care, weapons qualification, and other Army Warrior Tasks.
The soldiers have been training for months leading up to the event and had the opportunity to compete amongst themselves along with soldiers and airmen from the West Virginia National Guard.
“I joined the Army to test myself. The Best Warrior Competition was something I always wanted to get involved with. The past three days have been tough but it's something I'll never forget” said Spc. Michael Maglad, a soldier from the 104th Maintenance Company.
The competition not only tested the soldiers' physical endurance but also their knowledge of army values and history.
“Understanding why we serve is important. Whenever I put on the uniform, I understand that there is a bigger purpose than myself. This competition is just another reflection of what the Army mission is all about'' said Pfc. Aikhim Hart, a motor transport operator with the 372nd Military Police Battalion.
Competitors on the first day participated in a six-mile ruck march followed by weapons assembly instruction from Cadre. Later that evening, they conducted a swim test donning the full army combat uniform.
On day two, the Soldiers started the day before sunrise conducting land navigation with the goal of finding 4 points given to them. The competitors were then tasked with a weapons familiarization stress shoot. In between firing rounds, they were doing strenuous physical activities to simulate physical exhaustion and physical discomforts that they would potentially experience in combat situations. Following this, the soldiers participated in a range run, which consisted of an obstacle course, a combat casualty situation lane, a CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear) lane, and a grenade qualification lane. To end the day, the soldiers were tasked with a written test, an essay, and the weapons assembly and disassembly test.
On day 3, before the break of dawn, the competitors conducted the ACFT (Army Combat Fitness Test), which is meant to measure a soldier's muscular endurance, flexibility, speed, muscular strength, and cardiovascular endurance.
The soldiers then moved on to the appearance board, where they appeared in front of enlisted leadership. During this, their dress uniforms are thoroughly inspected, and are then given a few army warrior task questions to answer.
The culmination of the competition consisted of an awards ceremony given out to competitors that displayed exemplary effort and values. Finally, one soldier from the junior enlisted side and one from the non-commissioned corps from each state were selected to move on to the regional Best Warrior Competition that's being held in May.
“I would have to say that my favorite competition was the stress shoot,” said Spc. Michael Maglad is this year's junior enlisted winner. "Not every day are you given the opportunity to shoot so I try to take advantage of every situation that I can to get to the range."
The Best Warrior Competition also allows senior leadership to analyze the readiness of the state and its fighting force.
Spc. Michael Maglad and Sgt. Lashanta Lucas will be moving on to the regional Best Warrior Competition in May where they'll be competing with other soldiers from the region.