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Home : News
NEWS | May 16, 2024

Ruckey named Region 1’s Best NCO

By Pfc. Emmanuel Gibson

Connecticut will once again represent the New England Region in the National Guard’s Best Warrior Competition after Staff Sgt. Curtis Ruckey, a recruiter with 6th Recruiting and Retention Battalion, won the Region 1 BWC non-commissioned officer category on May 16, 2024.

Ruckey and Spc. Mathew Hallgren represented Connecticut in the competition, which was comprised of non-commissioned officers and enlisted winners from the state-level competitions in New York, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maine, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the effort displayed by not only our competitors, but their respective sponsors,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Aurthur Fredricks, the senior enlisted advisor for the Connecticut Army National Guard, “Connecticut sets the bar when it comes to teamwork and camaraderie.”

The BWC was five days long and featured several mentally and physically challenging events. The competition began at Camp Smith with knowledge and skill-based examinations and concluded in the streets of Manhattan with a 12-mile ruck march. These events tested the training and readiness.

“It means we are doing many things right if our winner is representative of our units and our training,” said Fredricks. “We are training and preparing our Soldiers to be exceptional at the basic war-fighting tasks. It is a tremendous achievement to be selected as the Region One NCO or Soldier of The Year as you represent a population of over 35,000 Soldiers. Even greater to do it in back-to-back years.”

Connecticut’s NCO of the year, Staff Sgt. Conrad Sheldon, an infantryman from 1-102nd Infantry Regiment, represented Region 1 in the 2023 National Best Warrior Competition.

The competition took competitors to various locations across New York such as Niagara Falls and Youngstown training area where they competed in a 5-mile race and various other events.

When the events concluded, the winners were revealed during a ceremony at the Thayer Hotel at West Point where the Sergeants Major from each competing state showed gratitude to competitors by rewarding them with challenge coins.

In August, Ruckey will test his skills against the most elite warriors during the National Best Warrior Competition which the Vermont National Guard will host. 

“I'm really excited for that as well. The next level of things I honestly didn't think I would make it this far.” said Ruckey “So I'm really happy that I can go to the next level.”