An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | Oct. 24, 2022

UTNG Best Warrior Competition Presents Top Competitors

By Spc. Shae Cox 128th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Twenty-three Soldiers and Airmen battled mental and physical challenges as they competed for the title of Soldier/Airman of the Year, Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, and Senior NCO of the Year, during the Utah National Guard Best Warrior Competition held at Camp Williams, Utah, Oct. 16-19, 2022.

The participants represented the Utah National Guard’s major commands after being selected from unit-level competitions. These competitors fought to the top during the BWC and took home their respective honors:

Soldier/Airman of the Year: Airman 1st Class Kevin Buckner, 151st Air Refueling Wing
NCO of the Year: A Military Intelligence specialist Staff Sgt. (identity withheld for security purposes), 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Senior NCO of the Year: Master Sgt. Ryan Fleischman, 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

The Best Warrior Competition events are designed to execute a challenging, realistic and dynamic learning environment for competitors.

“This competition allows us to do training that most of us don't get on a regular basis,” said Staff Sgt. Andrea Chica, a competitor representing 2nd Battalion, 211th Aviation Regiment. “It's really important as leaders to train on these events, learn new skills, meet the other competitors, and form a better relationship with other units.”

This year offered the competitors different tests and new opportunities from other years’ competitions. The training is designed to determine if the Soldier or Airman has the mental and physical fortitude to plan, train and execute under stressful conditions. 

“The biggest difference this year, from last year, is that we have incorporated the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge,” said Master Sgt. Mike Baker, the noncommissioned officer in charge. “We have provided events that will tax them mentally and physically so we can actually see who they are, and what they are made of, and if they are ready to go to the next level.”

The competition began with an inventory of each participant's gear, testing their attention to detail. Next, the competitors prepared their weapons for marksmanship events taking place the following day, as well as completing the pistol qualification portion of the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge. The competitors finished the day strong with the 100-meter swimming event completed in full uniform.

The second day began with events from the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge including the 11x10-meter sprint, flexed-arm hang, and a 1000-meter run. The day continued as the Soldiers and Airmen participated in an improvised explosive device detection and reporting lane. The assessment was followed by medical lanes where the competitors evaluated casualties under the stress of a simulated-combat environment. The day concluded with the Army rifle qualification.    
The participants' final day of physical challenges started at 2 a.m. with night-land navigation, testing the competitors' ability to navigate with a back azimuth. Finally, the last physical event for the competitors was the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge 12-kilometer ruck march. 
To wrap up the competition, competitors went before a military board and took a written exam to be judged and tested by senior leaders on their military skills, bearing and knowledge. 

“The goal here isn’t just to get somebody proficient in some Army warrior tasks and battle drills,” said Baker. “It’s to get them to understand how they can take this information back to their units and incorporate it in the training of their Soldiers and Airmen.”

This year, four members of the Utah Air National Guard joined the Soldiers in these events and were able to learn some new skills along the way.
“A few of the skills being tested here today are skills that the Air Force doesn’t train on very often, if at all. So being able to go through these skills and work side-by-side with the Soldiers is huge,” said Baker.

The Soldier of the Year and NCO of the Year will represent the Utah National Guard at the Region VII Best Warrior Competition in March, facing off against winners from Arizona, California, Colorado, Guam, Hawaii, New Mexico and Nevada.

 

 

 

Your Career Starts Here

Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the Seven Seals and Patriot Awards to select civic leaders at a ceremony on Oct. 26, 2022. Gov. Spencer Cox received both the ESGR’s Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award. Mr. Gary Harter, executive director for the Utah Department of Veterans and Military Affairs, and Mr. Jon Pierpont, chief of staff to the governor and former executive director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, also received the ESGR Seven Seals Award.
ESGR Presented Awards to Civic Leaders
By Maj. Chris Kroeber | Oct. 27, 2022
Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve presented the Seven Seals and Patriot Awards to select civic leaders at a ceremony on Wednesday. Gov. Spencer Cox received both the ESGR’s Seven Seals Award and the Patriot Award. Mr...

The Utah National Guard Honor Guard conducts Funeral Honors for the surviving family of U.S. Army Air Corps Sgt. Elvin L. Phillips, an Airman who was killed 79 years ago during World War II. Family from several states, friends, first responders, and service members gathered to render respect during the funeral at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah, Oct. 11, 2022. (U.S. Army National Guard Photo by Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack)
Utah Honor Guard Provides Funeral Honors for WWII Airman
By Staff Sgt. Jordan Hack | Oct. 13, 2022
Soldiers and Airmen in the Utah National Guard Honor Guard conducted funeral honors for Phillips at Utah Veterans Cemetery & Memorial Park in Bluffdale, Utah, Oct. 11, 2022. Family, friends, other service members, and first...

Gov. Spencer J. Cox and Maj. Gen. Michael J. Turley conduct a pass and review during the 67th annual Governor’s Day at Camp Williams, Utah, Sept. 24, 2022. The humvee is driven by Sgt. Spencer Fayles with the 144th Area Support Medical Company, the 2022 All-Guard National Soldier of the Year. The time-honored tradition of Governor’s Day has been celebrated by the Utah National Guard since 1954 and allows the governor to inspect and speak to his troops. (U.S. Army Photo by Staff Sgt. Ariel J. Solomon)
Utah National Guard celebrates 67th Governor’s Day after two year hiatus
By Capt. Megan Tidwell | Sept. 26, 2022
Utah National Guard Airmen and Soldiers celebrated the 67th annual Governor’s Day after a two-year hiatus Sept. 24, 2022, at Camp Williams, Utah...

Soldiers from the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) arrive at Dugway Proving Ground in support of an agile combat employment joint exercise on Sept. 8, 2022. This joint force exercise incorporates more than six military’s entities across three branches creating innovative operational concepts to allow quick response to an ever-changing wartime horizon. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Danny Whitlock)
Utah Air National Guard Completes Joint Agile Combat Employment Exercise
By Master Sgt. Colton Elliott | Sept. 8, 2022
As the Department of the Air Force continues to prioritize Agile Combat Employment , Airmen from the 151st Air Refueling Wing conducted its first joint Multi-Capable Airmen exercise at Dugway Proving Ground, Utah on Sept. 8,...

Approximately 10 Soldiers from Target Acquisition Platoon, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 65th Field Artillery Brigade, “America’s Thunder,”  are recognized during a departure ceremony Sept. 1, 2022, in the Scott Lundell Readiness Center auditorium at Camp Williams, Utah. The Soldiers will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom under U.S. Africa Command.
Soldiers from the Utah National Guard’s 65th Field Artillery Brigade deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom
By Ileen Kennedy | Sept. 2, 2022
Approximately 10 Soldiers from Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 65th Field Artillery Brigade, “America’s Thunder,” will deploy in support of Operation Enduring Freedom under U.S. Africa Command. The Target Acquisition...

Brig. Gen. Joseph Green, assistant adjutant general, Utah National Guard shares his experience involving hardships and explains how trauma impacts Guard units and families. Green said although he understands some obstacles may hinder the SAPR and VA mission, he is always available to support Utah Guard members.
UTNG SAPR program brings sexual assault awareness through prevention and education efforts
By Staff Sgt. Ashley Ellison | Aug. 26, 2022
The Utah National Guard Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program hosted two three-day leadership summits at the Provo Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, July 25-28, and Aug. 23-25, 2022. More than 50 UTNG Soldiers...

A Soldier from the 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion engages an adversary as a part of an Oleoresin Capsicum or OC spray qualification event during an evaluation exercise, Aug. 20-21, 2022, for the Utah National Guard Response Force in Salt Lake CIty, Utah. During the OC spray qualification, a trainee gets sprayed in the eyes with OC and must engage two adversaries using baton techniques and drag a simulated casualty to safety. The NGRF is a quick response security force composed of Utah National Guard Soldiers designed to augment law enforcement when directed by the governor. The NGRF is comprised of approximately 300 Soldiers primarily from the 142nd MI. (U.S. Army photo by 1st Sgt. John Etheridge)
142nd MI Battalion conducts evaluation exercise for National Guard Response Force
By 1st Sgt. John Etheridge | Aug. 25, 2022
The 142nd Military Intelligence Battalion, 300th MI Brigade, conducted an evaluation exercise Aug. 20-21, 2022, for the Utah National Guard Response Force at the North Salt Lake Armory. During the exercise, Soldiers of the...

Col. Paul Peters (center) relinquishes command of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) by passing the unit colors first to Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Riggs (left), who then passed it to Col. Brian “Tony” Pazzaglia (right), during a change-of-command ceremony held at the Aaron R. Butler Readiness Center on Camp Williams, Utah, Aug. 20, 2022. Change-of-command ceremonies are a time-honored military tradition to mark the formal transfer of authority and responsibility from one unit commander to another. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Jacob Jesperson/Released)
“I Promise You Unwavering Devotion”: Col. Pazzaglia Assumes Command of 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne).
By Staff Sgt. Nathaniel Free | Aug. 22, 2022
Col. Paul Peters relinquished command of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne) to Col. Brian “Tony” Pazzaglia during a change-of-command ceremony held at the Aaron R. Butler Readiness Center on Camp Williams, Utah, Aug...

(From left to right) Air Force Master Sgt. Abraham Beh, Tech. Sgt. John Geister, Air Force Staff Sgt. Donovan Nielson, and Air Force Master Sgt. Sgt. Francisco Vasquez hoist the trophy of the Sgt. 1st Class James E. Thode Ruck March, August 19, 2022. Their team placed first among all other teams in the competitive category.
10th annual Thode Ruck March draws more than 100 participants
By Sgt. First Class Richard Stowell | Aug. 22, 2022
A rainbow appeared west of the hills just as participants started the 10th Annual Sgt. 1st Class James E. Thode Ruck March at Camp Williams, August 19, 2022...

Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Sherratt secures the brigade colors during the 65th Field Artillery Brigade change-of-command ceremony at Camp Williams, Utah, Aug. 13, 2022. During the ceremony, Col. Shawn Fuellenbach relinquished command to Lt. Col. Jason Wilde. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Rebecca Call)
65th Field Artillery Brigade “America’s Thunder” holds change-of command-ceremony
By Sgt. Rebecca Call | Aug. 13, 2022
The 65th Field Artillery Brigade, Utah Army National Guard, conducted a change-of-command ceremony at Camp Williams, Utah, Aug. 13, 2022. During the ceremony, Col. Shawn Fuellenbach relinquished command to Lt. Col.(P) Jason...