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Best of battalions, best in brigade

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The 29th Combat Aviation Brigade recently named Sgt. Delvon Anderson the brigade’s noncommissioned officer of the year and Spc. Jonathan Foster the Soldier of the year.

The two were among 11 Soldiers from the several units under the 29th CAB to participate in the Best Warrior Competition May 20-22 at Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

“I was really pleased that we could do this because it gave our Soldiers and NCOs an opportunity to be the best,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas Beyard, brigade command sergeant major. “Having a competition like this builds a lot of esprit de corps. It brings people together, and that’s really an important thing.”

To enter the competition, participants had to qualify sharpshooter or expert on their individual weapon and score a minimum of 270 points on their last Army Physical Fitness Test. They also had to be combatives level I certified, combat lifesaver certified, meet height and weight standards and not be flagged for any reason.

“It was a really big challenge, but I enjoyed it. The competition was put together well,” said Spc. Shayla Baxter, Soldier of the Year runner-up and member of the 2nd Airfield Operations Battalion, 58th Aviation Regiment. “My favorite event was the board and also the weapons challenge, taking apart the .50 caliber [machine gun]”

The first day of competition consisted of an APFT, and individual weapons qualifications. The second day tested land navigation and warrior task skills.
The third day began at 5 a.m. It consisted of a six-mile ruck march and a personal appearance before a board of senior NCOs. The competition ended with an awards ceremony and photo opportunities.

“My competition was very tough this time,” said Anderson. “Sgt. [Kamil] Maclin is an amazing person and a strong Soldier. She gave me a run for my money. She earned everything that she achieved here.”

Anderson, an intelligence analyst in Headquarters and Headquarters Co., 29th CAB, won the Maryland National Guard’s Soldier of the Year Competition in 2011.

The battalions played an important role supporting each event in the competition. The 1st Assault Helicopter Battalion,108th Aviation Regiment, conducted the APFT event. The 1st General Support Aviation Battalion, 126th Aviation Regiment, conducted the ruck march event, and HHC 29th CAB provided support for the warrior task event.

The 1204th ASB created three lanes for the land navigation course. The lanes were about 3,000 meters apart and marked by painted 29th Infantry Division logos. This course will be a useful training aid for future units at Camp Buehring.

“As a senior NCO, one of the most important things we do is train Soldiers. Seeing these Soldiers do basic Soldier skills was really inspiring,” said Master Sgt. Amahl Foster, who coordinated the support from the subordinate battalions. “Although [the competition] has a winner, I don’t think any of them are losers. They came forth willing to give their time and effort to show they are a cut above everyone else.”

Anderson and Foster earned Army Commendation Medals for winning the competition.

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