Fort Jackson, Fort Carson soldiers win Army’s Best Warrior competition
By IMMANUEL JOHNSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 15, 2020
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GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — A sergeant based in Fort Jackson, S.C. and a sergeant 1st class out of Fort Carson, Colo. have been named the winners of two separate categories of the Army’s best warrior competition, which was held remotely this year to protect contestants against the coronavirus.
Sgt. James Akinola, who represented the Moncrief Army Health Clinic, U.S. Army Medical Command at Fort Jackson was named best soldier after three weeks of competition that included knowledge and physical assessments.
He “began the process as an E4 but unsurprisingly was promoted during the process,” the Army said on Facebook.
Sgt. 1st Class Alexander Berger, of the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group, U.S. Army Special Operations Command out of Fort Carson, won best noncommissioned officer.
Physical strength was tested using the Army combat fitness test, a 12-mile march and a marksmanship component. Intellectual skills were tested in part in a virtual interview with senior enlisted soldiers from across the Army.
“Even under this year’s extraordinary circumstances, you’ve proven you have what it takes to compete and win,” the Army cited Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston, who oversaw the remote competition, as telling the two winners at the awards ceremony in Arlington, Va. Tuesday.
Taking the competition remote allowed it to adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as Army guidelines to mitigate the virus, and showed that soldiers have “the resilience, the lethality, and the strategy that we have to deploy, fight, and win decisively against any adversary anytime, anywhere,” Sgt. 1st Class Matthew Wood, the competition’s NCO in charge, said in a statement.
Twenty-two soldiers from 11 Army commands took part in the competition, which is in its 18th year.