By Rachel L. Griffith
USASMDC/ARSTRAT Public Affairs
PETERTSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command/Army Forces Strategic Command has selected its “Best Warriors.” Sgt. Brandon Kitchen, 53rd Signal Battalion, was selected as the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Sgt. Anthony Moore, 1st Space Battalion, was selected as the Soldier of the Year. Kitchen previously won the title of Soldier of the Year in 2011.
“The intent of the Best Warrior Competition is to promote morale, esprit de corps and cohesion within the command. It is also to identify, recognize and send the best-prepared NCO and soldier to the Best Warrior Competition hosted by the sergeant major of the Army,” said 1st Sgt. Steven Adams, SMDC Headquarters and Headquarters Company.
The command brought eight candidates to Peterson Air Force Base to compete for the title. Four soldier candidates and four noncommissioned officer candidates went through a series of mental and physical challenges to gauge their ability to do warrior tasks.
“I’ve been looking forward to this day for awhile now,” said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew B. Brown, the 2011 NCO of the Year. “I’m happy to hand over my title. When you look at this group of competitors, they’re all winners in my book.”
The candidates arrived from the command’s various geographic locations just days before the competition started. They began with a test aimed to gauge their knowledge of warrior tasks and drills.
All eight candidates completed the Army physical fitness test performed at an altitude of nearly 7,000 feet. Later during day one, they were taken to Fort Carson to compete in a situational training exercise testing their abilities at crowd control, gathering information and finding a high-value target.
They were given little sleep before returning to the competition, where each candidate was asked to lead a group of soldiers through a physical fitness warm-up drill. Immediately following the drill, they wrote an essay. Later that afternoon, they returned to Fort Carson to shoot the M-4 rifle at a day and night firing range. They ended the competition by appearing in front of an administrative board.
Each candidate was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for their selection as regional representatives in the competition. Kitchen and Moore additionally received the Army Commendation Medal.
Kitchen and Moore will now began a rigorous training schedule to prepare to compete at the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition held in Virginia this fall.
“I know a little bit more about the competition, so I’m not going to be blind-sided. I’m personally going to do whatever I can to get started and work on getting up to speed so that myself and Sgt. Moore can do the best that we can in representing SMDC,” said Kitchen.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to go there and prove that just because we aren’t a combat arms (military occupational specialty) we are space soldiers and we are integral parts of the U.S. military. Hopefully, we can prove that to the rest of the Army,” said Kitchen. “I’m excited to go. I’m excited to compete again, and I really hope that Sgt. Moore and I can pull it out of the top and show the rest of the Army what SMDC is all about.”