Wyoming’s best warriors fall short at regional competition

May 14, 2019

Soldier of the Year and NCO of the Year titles for Region VI were on the line at Camp Gilbert Grafton Training Center, in North Dakota, May 6-9.

Fifteen soldiers from eight states including Wyoming’s state champions Staff Sgt. Alex Goldfarb, of G Company 2nd Battalion, 211 General Support Aviation, and Pfc. Dominic Vasquez, of C Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, joined the rest of the competitors in hopes of being named Region VI champions.

“The competition motivated me to stay knowledgeable, keep learning and stay on top of the skills that we were taught,” Goldfarb said. “I’ve been writing stuff down the entire time we’ve been here and I’m going to take all of this information back to my unit to help prepare our soldiers (for next year).”

Vasquez said, “I’m glad I did it and I think it was a good experience. My favorite events were the confidence course and clearing rooms. It was hard, but fun, and it challenged me both mentally and physically.”

After the dust settled, Sgt. Peter Bennett of the Idaho Army National Guard and Sgt. Paul Mannelly of the Oregon Army National Guard emerged Best Soldier and Best NCO, respectively.

Command Sgt. Maj. David Lien, North Dakota’s sate command sergeant major, said “We tried to do whatever we could to make the most dynamic and challenging event for the individuals to make sure that we send the best representatives to the next level of the competition.”

Lien added that organizers of the regional competition spent more than half a year planning the best possible course. The region’s best soldiers will have the opportunity to travel to Oklahoma where the National Guard’s cream of the crop will compete in the National Best Warrior Competition in July.

Other Region VI warriors came from North Dakota, Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, and Washington.

Over the course of the three days, soldiers participated in a 12-mile ruck march, day and night land navigation, warrior tasks and battle drills, and a three-weapon shoots among other physically and mentally exhausting challenges.

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