Soldier of the year: Bliss soldiers vie for top honors

Sgt. Brandon K. Anderson, 4th BCT, 1st AD
Wednesday, June 12, 2013 - 11:09pm

Eighteen noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted Soldiers competed for the prestige of being named the Fort Bliss Warrior of the Year on June 3.

The winners will go on to compete for the III Corps Soldier and NCO of the year held at Fort Hood, Texas.

The competition covered a wide variety of topics and events designed to test the Soldiers’ physical and mental abilities.

On day one of the competition, the Soldiers met at the Fort Bliss Combatives Center and tested their knowledge and ability to correctly demonstrate basic Army Combatives.

By the second day of the competition, the leaders of the pack slowly emerged. The morning started off with an Army Physical Fitness Test, followed by an obstacle course and culminated in a day/night land navigation course.

At the obstacle course, Spc. Rickie Touch, a Soldier assigned to the 93rd Military Police Battalion, took a commanding lead by easily maneuvering the nine obstacles. The Soldiers had only two tries to complete each obstacle. For each obstacle they failed to complete, time was added to their final scores. On day three, the Soldiers headed to McGregor Range, N.M., where they had to zero and qualify with their assigned weapons. They also had to complete a series of challenges which tested their knowledge of common Soldier tasks.

The Soldiers had to correctly perform numerous tasks that including evaluating a casualty and calling in a nine-line medical evacuation request.

The final event of the competition was a board appearance held at the Sergeant Audie Murphy Club. There, inspectors meticulously examined the contestants’ uniforms for proper placement of ribbons and awards, as well as for overall Soldierly appearance. Club members also asked numerous questions about Army history, programs and regulations.

Spc. Lakeisha Haynes, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, and Sgt. Nathan Atwood, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, rose above their peers, and will represent Fort Bliss at the III Corps SOY competition.  

“It means a lot to be selected by your unit to represent Fort Bliss in this competition,” said Master Sgt. Roosevelt Porto, the operations sergeant major for Team Bliss.

The III Corps competition is scheduled for July 20. 

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