Smith and George named America’s Army Reserve NCO and Soldier of the Year

By USARC Press Release | U.S. Army Reserve Command | June 28, 2019

Fort Bragg, N.C. —

Sgt. Joshua Smith and Spc. Collin George were named winners of the 2019 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year, respectively, in a ceremony at the Iron Mike Conference, Friday, June 28.

Smith and George were selected from more than 60 U.S. Army Reserve NCOs and Soldiers representing 29 geographic and functional commands from around the world.

Smith, a Cavalry Scout is a drill sergeant candidate with Delta Company, 3rd Battalion, 334th Infantry Regiment, 95th Training Division (Initial Entry Training), 108th Training Command. His civilian occupation is train conductor at Canadian Pacific Railway. A native of northern Wisconsin, his parents live in Ashland, Wis.

George, is a Military Policeman with 102nd Military Police Company, 327th Military Police Battalion, 300th Military Police Brigade, 200th Military Police Command in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. He is a part-time supervisor at UPS. George is a native of Greendale, Wis.

Smith owes his success to a single-focus approach that he would share with others who want to compete.

“Trust your training. Every event counts. Even if you think you’re out, keep pushing, keep pushing hard, and push through it,” Smith said. “Do the best you can. Stay focused and don’t worry about the other competitors. Concentrate on your own score and yourself.”

Smith thanked a host of supporters from his wife, Savannah, to coworkers and fellow Soldiers an leaders in his unit.

For George, he was inspired to compete by Sgt. 1st Class Landon Nordby, the 2014 U.S. Army Reserve NCO of the Year.

“We deployed together in 2017 and he single-handedly inspired me to compete,” George said. “At an early age, I didn’t have a lot of confidence. So joining the Army, doing competitions, and seeing what I’m actually capable of; it really pays to be confident.”

Even though he came here with that confidence, he began to wonder if that confidence was going to last.

“They (the other Warriors) put up a good fight,” George said. “They were incredible. There were a lot of great Soldiers out here and they pushed me further and further.”

This year’s Warriors from America’s Army Reserve had military occupations ranging from combat medic to musician, and civilian careers ranging from law enforcement to wildland fire fighter.

The Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition, held at June 23-28 at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, is designed to demonstrate the warfighting skills of the most capable, combat-ready, and lethal federal reserve in the history of the Nation.

The Warriors were tested in a myriad of different physical and mental challenges including firing multiple weapon systems, land navigation, the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge events, and multiple mystery events. 

During the awards luncheon, guest speaker, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Scott C. Schroeder, spoke of how the Warriors should inspire others to not only excel as Soldiers but also utilized competitions like to inspire others in the ranks – using an iceberg as an analogy.

“The 61 Soldiers who came out here to compete are the part of the iceberg that stands above the line of water,” said Schroeder, who retired as the U.S. Army Forces Command command sergeant major in 2017.

“What is really truly inspiring is these 61 Soldiers represent the 200,000 U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers – that’s the rest of the iceberg. There are many Soldiers who have been affected by this competition just to get to this point.

“The winners will be the tip of that iceberg,” Schroeder continued. “This is a test of how we train and the competition drives that test.”

Smith and George will represent the U.S. Army Reserve to compete against winners from the major Army commands and the National Guard at the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition in October at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia.

The mission of America’s Army Reserve is to generate combat-ready units and Soldiers for the Army and Joint Warfighter that are trained, equipped, and lethal to win our Nation's wars. To find out more about the U.S. Army Reserve, please visit www.usar.army.mil.