By C. Todd
Lopez, Army News Service
D.C. — Two Soldiers, both from the reserve components, were
named the Army’s best warriors during the 2008 Association of the
United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition here.
Spc. David R. Obray (left) and
Staff Sgt. Michael T. Noyce Merino practice adjusting the head
spacing and timing on an M2 .50-caliber machine gun during the
Army’s Best Warrior Competition. Obray was selected the Army
Soldier of the Year, while Noyce Merino was chosen the Army NCO
of the Year. (Photo by C.
Sgt. Michael T. Noyce Merino, Army National Guard, was chosen the Army’s
Noncommissioned Officer of the Year. Spc. David R. Obray, U.S. Army
Reserve, was chosen Soldier of the Year. Obray is from the 88th
Regional Readiness Command and won the Army Reserve Best Warrior
competition at Fort Mc-Coy in July to earn the right to compete at the
two Soldiers, along with 22 of their peers — a total of two Soldiers
from each of 12 Army major commands — competed for the titles during
the "Army’s Best Warrior Competition" Sept. 29 to Oct. 3
at Fort Lee, Va.
competition is in its seventh year, the first was held in 2002.
this is not the first time a member of the reserve component has won
— two years ago an activated Army Reserve specialist won Soldier of
the Year while competing for United States Army, Europe — this is
the first time that both the NCO and Soldier of the Year came from the
is a direct reflection of the goodness of what the National Guard and
Army Reserve provides for the Army," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army
Kenneth O. Preston. "It’s the civilian-acquired skills, the
education, that our Soldiers, our Citizen-Soldiers bring to the fight
every day that makes us who we are."
week-long competition included events designed to test a Soldier’s
mettle in areas like land navigation and physical fitness as well as
their knowledge of various warrior tasks and battle drills.
the competition asks Soldiers to show their ability to complete the
tasks most often needed in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan. Challenges
from the competition are drawn from real-life scenarios in the global
war on terror.
also said the Army-level competition, and the smaller company- and
battalion-level competitions Soldiers must compete in to get to Army
level, are designed to get competitors to concentrate on the knowledge
and skills needed to become better leaders and Soldiers.
they do is promote self-development and self-study and it gets our
young Soldiers and NCOs really getting into and studying doctrine and
becoming subject-matter experts in their professions," Preston
said. "I’m very proud of what these warriors have accomplished
and all the ones that competed in the competition."
Noyce Merino and Obray said they were honored to have competed in the
Best Warrior Competition.
lot of competitors, especially the NCOs, were just extremely skilled
Soldiers," Noyce Merino said.
felt honored to be competing against them. Now that I have won the
competition, I feel it is my responsibility to represent them and all
the Soldiers in the active Army and the Guard."
said he knows he hasn’t seen the last of the Soldiers he competed
fellow competitors were outstanding individuals and there is no doubt
I will see them again," he said. "From the beginning my
mindset was this is a lot of training and I looked forward to brining
it back to my unit."