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Spc. Mark Sasamoto, an ammunition specialist with the 83rd Ordnance Battalion, searches a car for an improvised explosive device. The task was one of several Sasamoto had to complete as part of the warrior challenge.

Spc. Mark Sasamoto, an ammunition specialist with the 83rd Ordnance Battalion, searches a car for an improvised explosive device. The task was one of several Sasamoto had to complete as part of the warrior challenge. (Natasha Lee / S&S)

Spc. Mark Sasamoto, an ammunition specialist with the 83rd Ordnance Battalion, searches a car for an improvised explosive device. The task was one of several Sasamoto had to complete as part of the warrior challenge.

Spc. Mark Sasamoto, an ammunition specialist with the 83rd Ordnance Battalion, searches a car for an improvised explosive device. The task was one of several Sasamoto had to complete as part of the warrior challenge. (Natasha Lee / S&S)

Challenge organizer Sgt. Maj. Freddie Siyufy of the 10th Support Group, left, commends the challenge participants and their sponsors before the winners are named Friday at the end of the three-day event.

Challenge organizer Sgt. Maj. Freddie Siyufy of the 10th Support Group, left, commends the challenge participants and their sponsors before the winners are named Friday at the end of the three-day event. (Natasha Lee / S&S)

Army Spc. Darius Merritt, left, of the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, was named Top Soldier of the First Quarter, and Army Cpl. Matthew Adams of the 83rd Ordnance Battalion, was named Top Noncommissioned Officer of the First Quarter in the 10th Support Group Warrior Challenge, which concluded Friday.

Army Spc. Darius Merritt, left, of the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, was named Top Soldier of the First Quarter, and Army Cpl. Matthew Adams of the 83rd Ordnance Battalion, was named Top Noncommissioned Officer of the First Quarter in the 10th Support Group Warrior Challenge, which concluded Friday. (Natasha Lee / S&S)

Spc. Darius Merritt, a human resource specialist with the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, searches Sgt. Shane Beal, a motor sergeant with 83rd Ordnance Group, during a skills test Thursday in the Army’s Warrior Challenge. Merritt was named Top Soldier of the First Quarter in the challenge hosted by the 10th Support Group.

Spc. Darius Merritt, a human resource specialist with the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, searches Sgt. Shane Beal, a motor sergeant with 83rd Ordnance Group, during a skills test Thursday in the Army’s Warrior Challenge. Merritt was named Top Soldier of the First Quarter in the challenge hosted by the 10th Support Group. (Natasha Lee / S&S)

TORII STATION, Okinawa — After three days of intense testing, two soldiers emerged as the winners of the 10th Support Group First Quarter Warrior Challenge Competition on Friday.

Cpl. Matthew Adams, an information systems analyst with the 83rd Ordnance Battalion, was named the Top Noncommissioned Officer of the First Quarter, and Spc. Darius Merritt, a human resources specialist with the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, was named the Top Soldier of the First Quarter.

The two were presented with certificates of recognition in a ceremony at Torii Station.

Seven soldiers competed for the titles, which required them to showcase their knowledge of the Army and physical abilities.

"It feels like an accomplishment," said Adams, 24. "It kind of says I’m doing the best that I can."

Challenges included physical training, a land navigation course, a question-and-answer session before a panel of senior enlisted leaders, and a series of "warrior tasks" that ranged from first aid to demonstrating how to properly search a detainee and a vehicle.

Merritt said he most enjoyed the warrior tasks, because they allowed him to demonstrate his skills hands-on.

"The experience is fun; it’s fun to compete," said Merritt, 21.

Other soldiers shared his sentiment and said the challenge fosters healthy competition.

Sgt. D’Andre Fletcher, a signal system support specialist with the 35th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, said participation in the challenge boosts confidence.

"It shows that I really know what I’m doing when it comes to soldiering," Fletcher said.

Each competitor represented the top within his unit. Challenge organizer Sgt. Maj. Freddie Siyufy of the 10th Support Group said senior enlisted leaders looked for soldiers who displayed professionalism, good conduct and appearance.

Winning the challenge is not just a boost for Adams and Merritt, but for their peers.

"It’s a program that other soldiers can identify with and strive to be like that person," Siyufy said.

The winning soldiers have little time to celebrate.

Now, the two must prepare for the U.S. Army Japan competition at Camp Zama to be held Sept. 15-16.

There, they will compete against soldiers from other units including U.S. Army Garrison-Japan, 78th Signal Battalion, and 441st Military Intelligence Battalion, Siyufy said.


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