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Best Warriors face off for top honors

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Spc. Devon Lenz, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion, plots points during the day land navigation portion of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Best Warrior Competition June 6 at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Dottie K. White SMDC/ARSTRAT)

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Spc. Devon Lenz, Company B, 53rd Signal Battalion, plots points during the day land navigation portion of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Best Warrior Competition June 6 at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Dottie K. White SMDC/ARSTRAT)

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Sgt. Steven Johnson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 53rd Signal Battalion, left, and Spc. William Ford, Company C, 53rd Signal Battalion, pace their 2-mile run of the Army Physical Fitness Test at Fort Carson, Colorado, during the Best Warrior Competition June 6. Johnson was named the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s noncommissioned officer Best Warrior and Ford was named the command’s Soldier Best Warrior for 2016. (Photo by Carrie E. David SMDC/ARSTRAT)

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Sgt. Steven Johnson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 53rd Signal Battalion, left, and Spc. William Ford, Company C, 53rd Signal Battalion, pace their 2-mile run of the Army Physical Fitness Test at Fort Carson, Colorado, during the Best Warrior Competition June 6. Johnson was named the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s noncommissioned officer Best Warrior and Ford was named the command’s Soldier Best Warrior for 2016. (Photo by Carrie E. David SMDC/ARSTRAT)

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Sgt. Randy Phillips, Company C, 53rd Signal Battalion, followed by three other competitors completes the 12-mile ruck march with a 45-pound ruck plus gear during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Best Warrior Competition June 7 at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Carrie E. David SMDC/ARSTRAT)

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Sgt. Randy Phillips, Company C, 53rd Signal Battalion, followed by three other competitors completes the 12-mile ruck march with a 45-pound ruck plus gear during the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Best Warrior Competition June 7 at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Carrie E. David SMDC/ARSTRAT)

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Spc. Ian Delp, Company D, 53rd Signal Battalion, completes an obstacle during the mystery event of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Best Warrior Competition June 7 at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Dottie K. White SMDC/ARSTRAT)

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Spc. Ian Delp, Company D, 53rd Signal Battalion, completes an obstacle during the mystery event of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Best Warrior Competition June 7 at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Dottie K. White SMDC/ARSTRAT)

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Sgt. Nicholas Henson, Company D, 53rd Signal Battalion, disassembles and reassembles a weapon during the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills portion of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Best Warrior Competition June 6 at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Dottie K. White SMDC/ARSTRAT)

FORT CARSON, Colo. - Sgt. Nicholas Henson, Company D, 53rd Signal Battalion, disassembles and reassembles a weapon during the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills portion of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s Best Warrior Competition June 6 at Fort Carson, Colorado. (Photo by Dottie K. White SMDC/ARSTRAT)

PETERSON AIR FOR BASE, Colo. --

Six of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command’s top warriors faced off this week to determine who would be the command’s Best Warriors.

The command’s regional winners descended on Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson to compete in a variety of Soldier skills for the command’s Best Warrior Competition, June 4-8.

“Over the last few days, the Best Warrior competitors have been through several grueling events from the Army Physical Fitness Test to the 12-mile road march, qualification on weapons to competing in a mystery event,” said 1st Sgt. Eldon Brown, USASMDC/ARSTRAT’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company first sergeant.

The competitors also completed day and night land navigation courses, a Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills event, a written test and essay, and an appearance before a board. USASMDC/ARSTRAT’s Command Sgt. Maj. Jerome Wiggins announced the winners June 8.

“These Soldiers possess those desirable traits and attributes and competencies associated with being a professional Soldier,” Wiggins began before announcing Sgt. Steven Johnson, Headquarters and Headquarters Company 53rd Signal Battalion, Peterson Air Force Base, as the noncommissioned officer Best Warrior and Spc. William Ford, Company C, 53rd Signal Battalion, Landstuhl, Germany, as the Soldier Best Warrior.

“Spc. Ford and Sgt. Johnson -- They epitomize what it is to be warriors and the Warrior Ethos,” Wiggins said. “This is indicative of Soldiers who invest hard work to the labor of competing, and today their hard work has returned a great investment, their selection as SMDC/ARSTRAT NCO and Soldier of the Year.”

Johnson thanked the other competitors and his leadership for their role in his success.

“I must thank all those who competed because they pushed me past what I thought I was capable of. I must also thank my leadership for their hard work in helping me train. They made sure I knew I was not doing this alone,” Johnson said. “I am glad that I have been afforded the opportunity to continue to represent the 53rd Signal Battalion at the next level of competition and excited to meet all the challenges that the competition will bring.”
Ford also credited his leadership for his success.

“Winning the SMDC Best Warrior Competition was a rewarding experience. After months of putting in a lot of work with my leaders and getting trained and mentored, it was great to see that it paid off,” Ford said. “I'm proud to represent my unit and show the rest of the Army that SATCOM (satellite communication) controllers are some of the best Soldiers the Army has to offer.”

Ford, who is stationed in Germany, came from an elevation of about 800 feet compared to the Colorado Springs elevation of about 6,000 feet.

“The worst part was definitely the ruck march,” he said. “The altitude coupled with the heat was brutal, and it took a lot of heart to push through that. My favorite part was the obstacle course. It was the last physical event after a really strenuous couple of days, and it was a lot of fun to do and fun to watch how different competitors tried to overcome the obstacles.”

Johnson’s least favorite event was also the ruck march, but he said the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills event offered the greatest accomplishment for him.

“I think my greatest accomplishment was the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills because the hard work and hours of studying really paid off,” Johnson said. “My favorite event was Lane 4 of the WTBDs because it held the most action and required quick reaction and decision making.”

Wiggins praised both Johnson and Ford for all of their hard work.

“They definitely possess all of the desirable traits and attributes associated with being professional Soldiers,” Wiggins said. “They represent the very best of our Army, and I am so very proud of both of them.”

Both Johnson and Ford received Army Commendation Medals and will represent the command in the Military District of Washington Best Warrior Competition, Aug. 22-26.

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