By Gerald Williams, Bayonet & Saber /
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Oct. 12, 2016) — Staff Sgt. Dennis Watson, 5th Squadron, 15th Cavalry Regiment, was selected as the 194th Armored Brigade Drill Sergeant of the Year Oct. 6 for his exemplary knowledge and performance.
Twelve Soldiers competed over three days during the Brigade’s annual Best Warrior Competition.
In addition, Spc. Jeffrey Parry, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, won Soldier of the Year, and Sgt. 1st Class Maximo Nunez, 1st Battalion, 46th Infantry Regiment, was selected NCO of the Year.
“We didn’t prepare for the competition,” said Watson. “There wasn’t any studying. It was an assessment of what you know and how much you know on a day-to-day basis during the competition.
“I was a little nervous at first because they kept telling us how tight the points were between competitors. I knew there were a few good people who participated in the competition. You don’t know your score, so you don’t know how you performed during the tasks. There’s always a bit of anxiety.”
According to Watson, the competition was a good way to refresh some of the knowledge and skills he has gained in the Army.
“I took away how important basic soldiering skills are. Some of the skills we learned, we don’t use every day. Some skills, unfortunately, are perishable skills and we don’t know how to do them. This competition though reinforces the skills that maybe a Soldier may not think about on a daily basis.”
“I’m just trying to prepare them for future competitions, said Staff Sgt. Tyler Cushing, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 194th Armored Brigade organizer for the Best Warrior Completion and former Drill Sgt. of the Year. “I try to take the future competitions into account and break them down so that their competition is very similar.
“These guys have been running for three days straight. They’ve covered about 25 miles the entire competition. They did 30 tasks the first day. They did 30 more tasks on day three. It’s mentally frustrating for them to be asked so many questions in such a rapid amount of time, but it separates the exceptional Soldiers from everyone else.”
Cushing stated that his experience within previous competitions helped him plan for the recent one.
“Going through all of these competitions and now planning one is a life changing experience for me. It’s going to be with me forever. From now on, all Soldiers under me are going to be ready for some type of competition and striving for excellence wherever they go.”
“If you’re thinking of competing in the competition, make sure you’re physically fit. It’s a three-day competition with one event after another that slowly wears you down. The 12-mile ruck march was the most challenging for me, even though we do it often in the Army. Your body has already been broken down though, with blisters on your feet, so it all takes a toll on you.”