The Georgia Army National Guard held its annual Best Soldier and State NCO competition March 20-25, 2022. Leadership announced the winners of the competition at a March 25 banquet at the Clay National Guard Center in Marietta, Georgia.
U.S. Army Spc. Keenan Baxter won the Best Soldier competition while Sgt. Matthew Fiore won Georgia’s Top NCO.
“I told them [Baxter and Fiore] to take all of this knowledge that they learned over the week and show their peers and junior soldiers how to do all these tasks and prepare them to do it, maybe even next year,” said the command sergeant. Maj. Jeff Logan, command sergeant major of the Georgia National Guard. “Make them follow in their footsteps.”
By winning the state competition, Baxter and Fiore will represent Georgia in the Region III Best Warrior Competition in May at Camp Blanding, Florida. There they will face guards from Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee and the Virgin Islands.
The 2022 Georgia Best Warrior competition included 15 soldiers and NCOs representing Georgia’s five brigades and major commands, including the state’s Recruiting and Retaining Battalion. Competitors included:
SPC. John Dabbs, an infantryman representing the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
sergeant. James Meacham, an infantryman representing the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
sergeant. Mario Mora, an infantryman representing the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team
Staff Sgt. David Dividu, an infantryman representing the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
SPC. Lisandro Padilla, a gunner representing the 648th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade
SPC. Cameron Wilson, a Black Hawk helicopter repairer with the 78th Aviation Troop Command
SPC. Sterling Brewer, a military policeman representing the 201st Regional Support Group
sergeant. Randall Brown, a military policeman representing the 201st Regional Support Group
Staff Sgt. Jacob Engstrom, a parachute rigger representing the 78th Troop Command
SPC. William Manning, a parachute rigger representing 78th Troop Command
sergeant. Michael McNerney, a parachute rigger representing the 78th Troop Command
SPC. Skyler Steen, a parachute rigger representing the 78th Troop Command
sergeant. 1st Class Corey Collins, a recruiter representing the Recruiting and Retention Battalion
“This is my third year doing this as the State Command Sergeant Major and I’m telling you, we’re getting better and better, and the competitors are getting better and better, every year. “, said Logan. “I can take any of these young men to regionals and they’ll do just fine.”
Baxter is a mortar infantryman assigned to Winder Headquarters and Company Headquarters, 1st Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team. He resides in Lawrenceville, Georgia.
Fiore is from Marietta, Georgia. He is a Black Hawk helicopter repairman assigned to Marietta-based Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 171st Aviation Regiment, 78th Aviation Troop Command.
Fiore and Baxter both received the Georgia Commendation Medals for winning the competition in their categories.
Mora received the Chad Mercer Award for his commendable performance during the competition.
The award is named in memory of Sgt. Chad Mercer, a Georgia Guardsman who has competed in the State Best Warrior Competition multiple times. Mercer died in June 2005 during Operation Iraqi Freedom while assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 121st Infantry Regiment, 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
The competition opened with contestants taking the Army Combat Physical Fitness Test at the Clay National Guard Center. Immediately after, competitors flew in a CH-60 Chinook helicopter to Fort Stewart, Georgia.
At Fort Stewart, competitors faced a gauntlet of events to test the warriors’ tasks and skills. These included: timed obstacle course, weapons familiarization and marksmanship tests, timed 12-mile road march, medical treatment lane, radio assembly, map reading test and navigation course land, water survival and swimming test, and call for shooting test.
Once the contestants returned to the Clay National Guard Center, they demonstrated their knowledge and presence through signs in front of the Georgia Command Sergeants Majors to complete the competition.
The mission of the Georgia National Guard is to provide the Governor and President with ready, resilient, and relevant forces to support unified ground operations at home and abroad. Organized battalion-level state-level Best Warrior competitions allow leaders to gauge mission readiness and push formations to their limits.
Based on the ferocity of this year’s competition, the prospects for the Georgia National Guard to accomplish its mission look stronger than ever.
“We’re still relevant, we’re still ready to go,” Logan said. “Our soldiers are ready for anything at any time.”
|Date posted:||26.03.2022 13:47|
|Location:||MARIETTA, Georgia, USA|
|Hometown:||LAWRENCEVILLE, Georgia, USA|
|Hometown:||MARIETTA, Georgia, USA|
|Hometown:||WINDER, Georgia, USA|
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