WARRENTON, Ore. North Dakota Army National Guard Sgt. Brandon Wendland, 957th Engineer Company (Multi-Role Bridge), took top honors in the noncommissioned officer (NCO) category for the Region VI Best Warrior Competition (BWC) 2021 at Camp Rilea, Oregon, May 4-7, 2021.
Wendland of Fargo, earned the honor to represent North Dakota by winning the state BWC in August 2020 held at Camp Grafton Training Center, near Devils Lake, North Dakota. Corporal Andrew Doss of Grand Forks, a member of the 191st Military Police Company, finished third in Soldier category.
“The Best Warrior Competition thoroughly tests the skills of these Soldiers,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Derek Heck, state command sergeant major for the N.D. Army National Guard. “Competing, let alone winning, is a tremendous achievement requiring mental agility, endurance, demonstration of Soldier skills and military knowledge, as well as a commitment to excellence.”
At the regional competition, Wendland took on the physically and mentally demanding challenges, competing against other NCOs from the eight-state district. The competition determined who will represent the region at the national level competition at Camp Navajo, Arizona, in July 2021. The region is comprised of Alaska, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Washington, and Wyoming.
“It’s really an honor to win this competition; I couldn’t have made it here without the support of the leaders in my unit,” said Wendland. “I’m proud to represent the North Dakota National Guard.”
The Region VI BWC consisted of nearly 20 events and tested a wide range of skills, from the Soldiers’ military appearance and knowledge to their physical strength and endurance. Soldiers proved themselves on weapon qualifications, long ruck marches, land navigation, and obstacle courses, all with limited rest and sleep. The culminating challenge was the “Omaha Beach” event, in which the Soldiers emerged from the Pacific Ocean, grabbed two heavy ammunition canisters to carry over high sand dunes before dropping them off and sprinting to the finish line.
The Oregon Army National Guard Land Component command team of Brig. Gen. Gregory Day and Command Sgt. Maj. Lee Smith presented Wendland the Army Commendation Medal for his achievement.
At the presentation ceremony, Smith said that, “While the overall goal of the Best Warrior Competition is to recognize the top-performing Soldiers and NCOs, the competition also characterizes the Army’s values and the Warrior Ethos among the participants.”