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Home : News
NEWS | March 22, 2024

2024 Connecticut Army Best Warrior Competition

By CDT Aaron Sepot 130th Public Affairs Detachment

The Connecticut Army National Guard hosts the annual Best Warrior Competition at Camp Nett. The purpose of the competition is to recognize an exemplary soldier who is determined through a series of events. These events are conducted over a period of four days and simulate real life situations that soldiers go through. The competitors are then graded on how well they perform based on Army doctrine. What makes this year special is the fact the competitors also have the opportunity to earn the German Armed Forces Badge for Military Proficiency (GAFPB) as well as the Norwegian Foot March foreign medal.

Day one of the competition primarily takes place in a classroom setting. A safety brief with the competitors is performed so as to understand risk management for these next few days. Then the competitors are seated so they can receive a course on range cards, sector sketches, and visual signaling techniques. Range cards and sector sketches are used in operations to illustrate surrounding terrain for sectors of fires. Visual signaling techniques are critical for elements to remain silent during movement operations. Following these classes is Army Warrior Training which covers common soldiers tasks. Lastly, the competitors are taken to Stone Ranch Military Reservation in East Lyme to perform Land Navigation. This event takes place twice, one in the daytime and once again at night.

Day two picks up in intensity, starting the day with the swimming event for the GAFPB. For this event, the competitors must swim 100 meters in under for minutes followed by undressing underwater. The swim event is followed by the GAFPB Basic Fitness Test. The test is composed of three events and it must be completed within 90 minutes. In the first event, the competitor must run 10 meters 11 times under a minute. Next is the chin-up test where the competitor performs a flexed arm hang for more than five seconds. Lastly, there is a 1,000 meter run where the competitor must complete it under six minutes and 3 seconds. Once the fitness test is concluded, they are taken to the range to complete the pistol qualification portion of the GAFPB. Competitors will be using the U.S. Army’s M17. To finish the day, the competitors are back in the classroom for 9-line, Call for Fire, Soldier Counseling, and Enlisted Evaluation Reports presentations.

Day three begins with the Norwegian Foot March, an 18.6-mile ruck march. In order to earn this badge, the competitor must complete it under the time limit for their age/sex. This tests the competitor’s endurance as they must wear a rucksack weighing at least 24.25 lbs. This event also covers the GAFPB road march requirements. After the completion of this event, the competitors now have to take a written test to test their Army knowledge. After the test, the soldiers are then brought in front of a board full of high-ranking soldiers of the National Guard. The board not only tests their knowledge but how they handle the pressure and how they address not knowing the answer by referring to the correct doctrine where the answer could be found. Every year, the best warrior competition has one mystery event and it won't be revealed until it starts. Typically the event is going to be related to one of the classes they were taught prior.

The fourth day of the competition wraps up the competition of all the events. The competitors are given on safety brief, event counseling, and an after action report. The purpose of an after action report (AAR) is to have an open discussion to review and focus on improvements. The night of the fourth day is host to the Salute The Troops Ball at Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort. This ball celebrates the completion of the competition and recognizes the hard work that all the competitors put in.

There are two winners selected from this competition, one for Non-commissioned officers and another for junior enlisted soldiers. Those two winners then move up the regional competition where they try and win a chance to go to nationals.