HARTFORD, Conn. –
After a physically and mentally demanding four days, the Connecticut Army National Guard has found their Soldier and non-commissioned officer of the year following the state's annual Best Warrior Competition April 7 – 10, 2022.
Specialist Katherine Platt, an internment specialist assigned to the 192nd Military Police Battalion, and Staff Sgt. Timothy Horan, an aircraft powertrain repairer assigned to D Company, 1st Battalion, 169th Aviation Regiment won their respective categories in the competition and will move on to represent Connecticut in the regional competition May 9 – 13.
The best warrior competition is a series of events held across all components of the Army and tests Soldiers on a variety of warrior tasks from physical fitness and weapons proficiency to written exams and sergeants major boards. The competitions begin at unit or command levels and continue through until the Army-wide competition where a single junior Soldier and non-commissioned officer are crowned the Army’s best warrior.
This year, Platt and Horan will have homefield advantage in the regional competition, which will pit the top-tier Soldiers from the Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey National Guards against one another at various training sites around Connecticut and Cape Cod to represent the Northeast in the next level of the competition later in the year.
The Best Warrior Competition began in 2002 and this may be the last year for this legacy event. On Feb. 15, 2022, Sgt. Maj. Of the Army Michael Grinston announced the transition into a new competition called the Best Squad Competition in September. The change comes as part of Grinston’s “This is My Squad” initiative to replicate the strength and cohesiveness often found in the Special Forces communities.
"For over two years, I've talked about the importance of building a cohesive team that is highly trained, disciplined and fit," Grinston said in an interview with Military.com. "Now it's time to measure ourselves against that standard."
According to the Best Squad website, “the most influential level of leadership is at the squad – where the majority of our Soldiers reside. ‘Squad’ extends beyond a traditional infantry squad to many small-unit groups of Soldiers, connected by a squad leader, who has the most direct impact on their lives. Soldiers never fight alone, the unbreakable bonds forged through shared hardship and unending support for one another are the hallmark of our must successful small units.”
Despite the change, each Soldier competing in a squad will continue to be evaluated individually, which will allow the Army to still declare a Soldier and non-commissioned officer of the year.