Fort McCoy News December 13, 2013

Reserve Soldiers finish well in Best Warrior contest

BY SGT. MAJ. TROY FALARDEAU
Senior Leadership of the Army

FORT LEE, Va. — The Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition concluded Nov. 22 at Fort Lee, with the announcement of the Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) winners.

Photo 1 for Best Warrior article
Spc. Mitchell Fromm, with the 428th Engineer Company of Stevens Point, Wis., navigates across an obstacle course during the first day of the Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee, Va. Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Michel Sauret

The 2013 Department of the Army Non-commissioned Officer of the Year is Sgt. 1st Class Jason J. Manella, assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve Command.

The 2013 Department of the Army Soldier of the Year is Spc. Adam Christensen, assigned to the U.S. Army Pacific Command.

Spc. Mitchell Fromm, the Army Reserve Best Warrior competitor, finished as the runner-up. The Army Reserve Best Warrior competition was held in June at Fort McCoy.

Manella, a Civil Affairs Specialist from Fremont, Calif., is currently serving in B Company, 445th Civil Affairs Battalion, Mountain View, Calif. In his 10 years in the Army, he has deployed three times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.

Christensen, a military policeman from Las Vegas is currently assigned to the 472nd Military Police Company, Fort Wainwright, Alaska. He joined the Army two years ago and hopes to eventually serve in the Special Forces Command.

Photo 2 for Best Warrior article
Sgt. Anthony Calvi, the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year competitor from the Army National Guard, performs push-ups during the first event of the 2013 Army Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee, Va. Photo by Meghan Portillo

The second- and third-place NCO winners are Staff Sgt. Cory M. Schmidt, assigned to U.S. Army Forces Command; and Staff Sgt. De Gosh Reed, assigned to U.S. Army Pacific Command, respectively.

The second- and third-place Soldier winners are Fromm and Spc. Michael Sands, assigned to Military District of Washington, respectively.

Vice Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. John F. Campbell and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Ray Chandler presented the awards to this year's winners in front of an audience that included Army leaders, Family members and other supporters.

The competitors, representing more than 600,000 Soldiers from 12 Army major commands, were tested over three days in areas such as Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills; an Army Physical Fitness Test; a written exam and essay; a command sergeant major appearance board; land navigation; weapons qualification; and two mystery events.

The 12 commands represented were: U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army Materiel Command, U.S. Army Medical Command, U.S. Army Pacific Command, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Installation Management Command, U.S. Army Reserve Command, U.S. Army National Guard, and the National Capitol Region.

Photo 3 for Best Warrior article
Sgt. 1st Class Sergio Velazquez with U.S. Army Europe transports an
"injured" Soldier to a medevac location during a simulated battlefield
emergency scenario at the Best Warrior Competition at Fort Lee, Va.

Photo by Lisa Ferdinando

In an Army interview at the beginning of the competition, Manella said, "Being named Noncommissioned Officer of the Year would be a tremendous honor not only for me, but also for the Army Reserve component. Winning amongst the entire Army, including the active duty and National Guard, proves all Soldiers are competent no matter which component they belong to or train in."

When asked why he wanted to take part in this competition, Christensen said, "I've always had the desire to participate and see just what I'm capable of. I like being around other Soldiers with that same attitude — competing at this level, finding our weaknesses and strengths and always striving to improve and be better. This competition is especially exciting because of its all-encompassing nature. My motivation to be there is to meet the best the Army has to offer, learn, and win."

Soldiers who begin the competition in the ranks of private through specialist vie for Soldier of the Year, and those in the ranks of corporal through sergeant first class vie for NCO of the Year.

With their victories, Manella and Christensen will represent the U.S. Army at official Army ceremonies and community events throughout the next year.

Photo 4 for Best Warrior article
Sgt. 1st Class Jason Manella with the Army Reserve's B
Company, 445th Civil Affairs Battalion finishes the first
day of competition at the Best Warrior Competition at
Fort Lee, Va.
Photo by Lisa Ferdinando

Both Manella and Fromm won the Army Reserve Best Warrior competition in their respective category at Fort McCoy.

Manella and Fromm also trained at the installation in the August and September time frame in preparation for the Armywide competition.

The Best Warrior Competition was scheduled for October, but the federal budget crisis forced it to be postponed until November.

For additional information about the competitors and the competition, visit www.army.mil/bestwarrior.