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Best of the best: Washington National Guard Soldiers compete for the title of best warrior

The Washington National Guard wrapped up its state-level Best Warrior Competition on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. March 3rd, 2024. Sgt. Isaac Duncan with 898th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team and Spc. Zachariah Johnson with 1st Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment, 81st SBCT won Best Soldier and Best Non-commissioned Officer.

The BWC is a multi-event, two-day competition that tests soldiers in a variety of skill sets. It includes a mock Army Combat Fitness Test, a command sergeant major’s board, an Individual weapon qualification range, a stress shoot, and a land navigation course. The competition culminated with a 6-mile timed tactical ruck march.

“The most challenging portion of the competition for me was the CSM’s board,” said Johnson. “It was a little more difficult to prepare for, I had been studying for the NCO boards for a while, however with the volume of doctrine, I felt like I was trying to drink the ocean”

The competition received some changes in comparison to last year, said 2nd Lt. Joshua Peters, the project officer of the competition. The stress shoot was re-structured to be similar to what soldiers should expect to see at the regional competition later this year. The competition was opened to more soldiers per major subordinate command, allowing more than two soldiers per brigade to compete.

“It was a great success. It sounds like the competitors had a lot of fun,” said Peters. “The biggest takeaway, I wanted to see that they enjoyed their time, as well as find who our best warrior was.”

Duncan and Johnson will go on to represent the Washington National Guard in the Region VI Army National Guard Best Warrior competition this spring. This year's regional competition will be hosted by the Washington National Guard.

“I’m very excited to represent Claymore Company 1-161 for the regional competition,” said Johnson. “I’m currently developing my training plan and trying to make the most of the time I have before it arrives.”