Top U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers prepare for final competitions

By Sgt. Kevin Long | Exercise News Day | Aug. 19, 2019

The U.S. Army Reserve's Best Warriors and Drill Sergeants of the Year carried out 27 days of intensive training at Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, Aug. 4-24, 2019.

The training was in preparation for the 2019 Army Best Warrior and Drill Sergeant of the Year competitions which pit the best of the Army, Army Reserve and National Guard against each other.

The competition will consist of six events including a board, written exam, physical fitness assessment, warrior tasks and battle drills, weapons range and a mystery event.

The competitions help promote readiness, self-improvement and lethality for Army Reserve Soldiers preparing for combat, said Staff Sgt. Gary Millner, an instructor from the 84th Training Command.

"It gets them ready to be able to go down range," said Millner. "If a Soldier is ready to go to combat, they know all the tasks and drills."

Sgt. James Baird, a drill sergeant from the 95th Training Division, is an alternate for the Drill Sergeant of the Year competition. He said that the competitions are all about becoming a better Soldier.

"The outstanding thing about when you volunteer to do these things, is at the very least, you walk out a better Soldier than you walked in," said Baird. "You get a chance to get in there and get better at some tasks you may have never done before ... and get yourself where you need to be as a Soldier."

Spc. Collin George, a military police Soldier from the 102nd Military Police Company, will be competing in the Best Warrior Competition. He said competitions like Best Warrior have helped him improve as a Soldier.

"These competitions really keep me on my toes and give me something to strive for," said George. "It's instilled that discipline in me, and I've taken a lot out of it."

All of the training events at Fort McCoy replicated real-world scenarios. For example, the medical class utilized advanced training dummies which mimicked the breathing and blood flow of a human body.

"We did a whole medical day with some really high speed dummies that breathe and react to a tourniquet," Geroge said. "They'll keep bleeding if you don't put the tourniquet on right."

The six Soldiers who took part in the training represent the best the U.S. Army Reserve has to offer. All of them have won multiple competitions to reach this level.

Sgt. Joshua Smith, Spc. Collin George, Sgt. Edward Singh and Spc. Kalon Williams will be represent the U.S. Army Reserve at the Army Best Warrior Competition.

Sgt. Michael Yarrington and Sgt. James Baird will be representing the U.S. Army Reserve at the Drill Sergeant of the Year Competition.

The Drill Sergeant of the Year competition is scheduled to begin on Aug. 17 and the Army Best Warrior Competition is scheduled to begin on Oct. 7.