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      3rd ID commander, Maj. Gen. Lee Quintas awards the Army Achievement Medal to Staff Sgt. Matthew Whitney of the 2-7 Inf., for placing first in 3rd ID’s 2019 Best Warrior Competition on Fort Stewart, April 26. (Photo by Sgt. Daniel Guerrero)

      Staff Sgt Matthew Whitney earns 3rd ID NCO of the Year

      Staff Sgt. Matthew Whitney, a Ranger-qualified infantryman from the 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Regiment, 1st Armored Brigade Combat Team was named the 3rd Infantry Division’s 2019 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, April 26.

      Whitney and 11 other competitors from across Fort Stewart engaged the Best Warrior Competition, a three-day competition consisting of 11 challenging events in order to determine the best warrior that Fort Stewart has to offer.

      When Whitney’s senior enlisted leader, 1st Sgt. Byron Evans of the Headquarters and Headquarters Company, informed him of the competition, he didn’t hesitate to volunteer and continued to focus on the daily training he was already conducting.

      “I focused a little more on ruck marching, but besides that I didn’t alter my training plan. I prepared the same way I prepped for other events, just worrying about one day and one event at a time,” said Whitney.

      Evans has served with Whitney for two years and said he is confident in both his physical and mental abilities.

      He also said, “Leaders want to select a winner and I knew he was one. You can give him a mission and know he is not going fail.”

      Day one started with a modified Army Physical Fitness Test consisting of three minutes of hand-release push-ups, three minutes of sit-ups, followed by a two and a half-mile run and one minute to complete as many pull-ups as possible with no breaks between events. The 100-meter swim was the mystery event at the end of the first day.

      “It was awesome, a perfect way to cool down after day-one,” Whitney said.

      The Best Warrior Competition offered other challenging tasks like M4 carbine and M9 pistol stress shoots, a PT test and ruck marching, as well as mental challenges like land navigation and the board.

      Whitney said he played to his strengths with the more tactical events.

      “I felt very comfortable with all the weapon oriented lanes, as well as the land navigation,” said Whitney. He adds, “I am lucky enough to have a job that keeps me current on those tasks.’’

      But even though Whitney excelled in some areas, other events were tougher.

      “I’m always average in boards but this was hard to prepare for,” said Whitney. “I would say the ruck march was also very difficult.’’ 

      The competitors were not aware of the daily standings as the competition progressed and could only concentrate on the task in front of them.

      Whitney said the point at which he thought he was going to win was at the awards ceremony.

      “I felt really confident that I was going to win when they officially announced the winner, before that I really had no idea who was going to win,”

      The next step for Whitney is the XVIII Airborne Corps Best Warrior Competition. He says he will continue training the same way but with more emphasis on ruck marching and board preparation.

      He says, “My primary concern is to represent my battalion and division well at the next competition.”

      His words of advice to anyone interested in something like this are, “There is no time like the present to do what you want. You just have to stop making excuses and just do it.”


    Edited by LTC J.LaFlash

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