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.

HomeNewsroomNewsArticle Display

Article - Article View

SMDC’s Best Warriors face off for regional competitions

FORT MEADE, Md. – Spc. Robert Carter, 4th Space Company, 1st Space Battalion, right, listens to Spc. Robert O’Leary during a role-play scenario March 22 during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Eastern Region Best Warrior Competition March 21-24 at Fort Meade, Maryland. In the event, Carter had to counsel O’Leary during his crisis. (Photos by Carrie E. David )

FORT MEADE, Md. – Spc. Robert Carter, 4th Space Company, 1st Space Battalion, right, listens to Spc. Robert O’Leary during a role-play scenario March 22 during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Eastern Region Best Warrior Competition March 21-24 at Fort Meade, Maryland. In the event, Carter had to counsel O’Leary during his crisis. (Photos by Carrie E. David )

FORT MEADE, Md. – Staff Sgt. Christian Budeshefsky, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Space Battalion, left, and Sgt. Steven Johnson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 53rd Signal Battalion, check their equipment and talk about the impending night land navigation course on March 22 during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Eastern Region Best Warrior Competition March 21-24 at Fort Meade, Maryland. Johnson was named the Eastern Region’s Noncommissioned Officer Best Warrior. (Photos by Carrie E. David )

FORT MEADE, Md. – Staff Sgt. Christian Budeshefsky, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Space Battalion, left, and Sgt. Steven Johnson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 53rd Signal Battalion, check their equipment and talk about the impending night land navigation course on March 22 during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Eastern Region Best Warrior Competition March 21-24 at Fort Meade, Maryland. Johnson was named the Eastern Region’s Noncommissioned Officer Best Warrior. (Photos by Carrie E. David )

FORT MEADE, Md. – Staff Sgt. William Steiner, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion, crosses the finish line March 24 from a 12-mile ruck march with a 45-pound weight minimum during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Eastern Region Best Warrior Competition March 21-24 at Fort Meade, Maryland. Cheering him is Command Sgt. Maj. Mary Carr, command sergeant major, 53rd Signal Battalion, and recording his time is 1st Sgt. James Mackay, first sergeant, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion. (Photos by Carrie E. David )

FORT MEADE, Md. – Staff Sgt. William Steiner, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion, crosses the finish line March 24 from a 12-mile ruck march with a 45-pound weight minimum during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Eastern Region Best Warrior Competition March 21-24 at Fort Meade, Maryland. Cheering him is Command Sgt. Maj. Mary Carr, command sergeant major, 53rd Signal Battalion, and recording his time is 1st Sgt. James Mackay, first sergeant, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion. (Photos by Carrie E. David )

FORT MEADE, Md. – Spc. Devon Lenz, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion, disassembles an M16A2 March 24 during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Eastern Region Best Warrior Competition, March 21-24 at Fort Meade, Maryland, while Spc. Robert O’Leary times him. Lenz was named the Eastern Region’s Soldier Best Warrior. (Photos by Carrie E. David )

FORT MEADE, Md. – Spc. Devon Lenz, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion, disassembles an M16A2 March 24 during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Eastern Region Best Warrior Competition, March 21-24 at Fort Meade, Maryland, while Spc. Robert O’Leary times him. Lenz was named the Eastern Region’s Soldier Best Warrior. (Photos by Carrie E. David )

FORT MEADE, Md. -- The battle began last week for the regional winners who will face off in the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command's Best Warrior Competition in June.

The command's Eastern Region competition took place March 21-24 at Fort Meade, and the winners were announced the last day. Sgt. Steven Johnson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 53rd Signal Battalion, was named the Noncommissioned Officer winner, and Spc. Devon Lenz, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion, was named the Soldier winner.

"The first day, I observed each of you and thought, 'This is going to be a tough competition," said Command Sgt. Maj. Mary Carr, 53rd Signal Battalion command sergeant major, before announcing the winners during an awards dinner on the last night of the competition. "What I admired about you all is that even though you were competing against each other, you were more of a support element to each other."

The competition included three NCOs: Johnson, Staff Sgt. Christian Budeshefsky, and Staff Sgt. William Steiner, and two Soldiers: Lenz and Spc. Robert Carter, competing in these areas: Army Physical Fitness Test, a board, a test and essay, night land navigation, day land navigation, a 12-mile ruck march, weapons qualification, a crisis counseling scenario, and weapons disassemble/reassemble.

"The ruck march, definitely, was by far the biggest challenge here," Johnson said. "It's one of the events where I had to dig down deep and drive myself as hard as I possibly could.

"I really appreciate the support element. You guys did a fantastic job, and it ran very smoothly," Johnson said. "As for my fellow NCOs, you guys definitely challenged me. I didn't expect it to be this hard, but you guys were there to push me and help me to do my absolute best. I really appreciate everybody."

Lenz also gave the Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion, cadre kudos for their work organizing the event.

"I want to thank everyone who set it up, judged, and were with us the whole way," Lenz said. "I had fun hanging out with you guys. I enjoyed competing against you. You (to Carter) helped me on the ruck march to push myself harder."

Lenz said his favorite event was the weapons qualification because that is not something he does often, and he said that the land navigation and the ruck march were the most difficult events.

"In the land nav, if you made a small mistake and got off course, then you were done. If you didn't find your point, then you didn't get the next one. Game over," Lenz said. "The ruck, though, was physically taxing."

Company B's first sergeant said that the competitor's teamwork is what stood out for him.

"If it were up to me, I would take this group of five and stack them up against anyone else," said 1st Sgt. James Mackay, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion, first sergeant. "At the same time the five of you are competing, you're pushing each other. Everyone was invested in pushing out the best winner, whoever that was. I had such a blast watching you do your thing. But remember to always take your competitors with you going forward."

Johnson and Lenz received the Army Achievement Medal for their accomplishment during the awards dinner. The next competition scheduled is Pacific Region March 29-April 2, and then the European Region competes later in April. The command's Best Warrior Competition is set for June 4-10 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Peterson SFB Schriever SFBCheyenne Mountain SFSThule AB New Boston SFS Kaena Point SFS Maui