A soldier from Lincolnshire is among the troops competing in the U.S. Army Reserve's Best Warrior competition this week.
Spc. Carl C. Best and 42 other contenders for the annual title are being judged in physical fitness, weapons skills, land navigation, radio communication and a variety of other categories. Some tests are kept secret until shortly before they begin.
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The top-ranked enlisted soldier and noncommissioned officer will represent the Army Reserve in the Army's Best Warrior competition this fall.
In a telephone interview from the competition at Fort McCoy, Wis., Best called the weeklong event "the Olympics of the Army."
"It's extremely tough," the 2008 Stevenson High School graduate said. "It's a lot tougher than I expected it to be."
Best, an analyst with the 378th Military Intelligence Battalion at Fort Sheridan, started his quest to be Best Warrior in January at a battalion-level event. He won that competition and ones that followed to get to Fort McCoy.
Along the way, Best said, he's become a better soldier.
"It's been a great experience," Best, 22, said. "I've learned a lot."
Twenty-three enlisted soldiers, including Best, are participating in the competition, as are 20 noncommissioned officers.
One woman, a sergeant, is competing.
The competition began Monday with a long day that included 10 events for the soldiers. They got started at 4 a.m. and didn't stop until 9 p.m., Best said.
"They've been keeping us going all day," he said. "We're moving the whole time."
When asked about what he thought was his top category, Best didn't hesitate to answer.
"I'm a great marksman," he said. "I always have been."
Even though he's competing against some of the best soldiers in the Army Reserve, Best said his odds of winning "are pretty good."
"But there's definitely some stiff competition here," he said.
The winners will be announced at an awards dinner Friday at the American Legion hall in Sparta, Wis.
The Army's Best Warrior competition will be in October at Fort Lee in Virginia.