Pilch, Rose vie for “Best Warrior”
CAMP DODGE – Sgt. Evan S. Pilch, of New London, a member of Company A, First Battalion, 168th Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division and Sgt. Nathaniel R. Rose of Mt. Pleasant, a member of Troop A, First Battalion, 113th Calvary Regiment, Second Brigade Combat Team, were among 20 soldiers competing for the Iowa Army National Guard’s “Best Warrior” title, March 21-23.
The Iowa Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition, which tests a soldiers’ mental, physical and emotional toughness and endurance, is held annually at Camp Dodge. This three-day competition is divided into junior enlisted and noncommissioned officer categories.
Soldiers participated in an array of events including the Army physical fitness test, rifle and pistol qualification, a 12-mile road march with a 25-pound ruck sack and land navigation with a map and compass. Soldiers also participated in a written exam which tested their military knowledge and faced a personal review board, which evaluated their appearance, military bearing and knowledge of critical Army topics.
“You have to maintain your motivation and drive to do your best on each individual event,” said Pilch, “regardless of how previous events went.”
One unexpected challenge for Rose was the below-freezing weather during the competition.
“Once that cold weather hits, it’s hard to stay motivated,” he stated.
State Command Sgt. Maj. Rachel L. Fails, the Command Sergeant Major for the Iowa Army National Guard, stressed how it takes teamwork, from both the competitors and their units, to prepare these soldiers for this demanding competition.
“[The competition] gives soldiers a sense of pride in themselves, as well as from their unit and their battalion,” said Fails.
Winners of the Iowa Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition will advance to the regional competition, held at Camp Ripley, Minn. in May.