July 17, 2014, CAMP ROBINSON, Ark. – Long before the sun rose Monday morning at the National Guard’s Professional Education Center, 14 of the Army National Guard’s best Soldiers came together to compete in the first event of a grueling three-day competition known as Best Warrior.
This Army Guard-level event will determine who among the Soldiers here is the best noncommissioned officer and junior enlisted Soldier to go on to represent the Army Guard in the Department of the Army-level competition later this year.
“This is an important competition in the Army National Guard,” said Sgt. 1st Class Louis Perna, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the competition’s first event, the Army Physical Fitness Test.
“It allows the day-to-day Soldiers a means of achieving recognition and to show their peers what they’ve got, and to then hopefully go on to represent the Army Guard at the (Department of the Army)-level competition,” Perna said. “And that means a lot to these Soldiers.”
Perna noted that some of the competitors brought family members to cheer them on.
“I thought that was pretty neat,” he said. “It shows how important it is to have that type of support and commitment as a Soldier.”
This year’s fitness test came with a few twists, Perna said.
“One of the challenges this year for this event is that there are no restarts, so it really challenges [the competitors] to make sure they are doing things correctly,” he said, adding that with three miles added to the run event for a five-mile run, “it really tests the competitors’ endurance.”
Perna, a West Virginia Army National Guard member, said it was a great experience to lend his time to the competition.
“Getting the chance to come out here and see what these [competitors] can do, as a senior NCO it gives you a sense of pride,” he said. “I wish all the competitors the best of luck.”