Jennings, Heatherly named Missouri National Guard best warriors

Sgt. Patrick Jennings, of Stanberry, and Sgt. Jordan Felt, of Blue Springs, battle each other during the combatives portion of the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year competition. Jennings is with Battery A 1-129th Field Artillery Regiment in Albany and Felt is with Detachment 1 of the Headquarters 35th Infantry Division. (Photo by Rachel Knight/Missouri National Guard)

By Rachel Knight
Ngmo.pao@us.army.mil

CAMP CROWDER, Mo. - After five days of mentally and physically challenging tests, Sgt. Patrick Jennings and Spc. James Heatherly were named the best noncommissioned officer and soldier of the year.

Five noncommissioned officers and five Soldiers competed in events to include the Army Physical Fitness Test, Command Sergeants Major board, written examination on general military knowledge, 12-mile road march, Army Warrior Tasks, Combat Water Survival, weapon qualification on both the M-9 pistol and the M-16 rifle, a 500 word essay, day and night land navigation, confidence course and combatives.

State Command Sgt. Maj. James Schulte said years ago the best warriors were chosen just from the answers given by the Soldiers during the Command Sergeants Major board. Since then, it has become more rigorous to test the Soldier as a whole.

"I could not be more proud then I am of the Soldiers in this organization today," he told the 10 Guardsmen during the awards ceremony. Soldiers in the Guard today have enlisted or reenlisted knowing they will be called to serve both on the state and federal level. Currently, there are more than 1,000 Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, Kuwait, Honduras, Guatemala and other countries. The Guard also has a state mission to serve on state emergency duty when the Missouri Governor calls. Last year, the Missouri Guardsmen supported a blizzard, mass flooding and tornados.

"There is nobody in the military that does things better than we do," Schulte said. "When bad things happen to good people, the National Guard is there." He continued to say that when the uniformed Soldiers show up to a natural disaster, there is an added level of comfort that is hard to describe.

"We are the 21st century Minutemen," Schulte said. "These are the best of the best here. There was no quit in anybody, all week long."

Heatherly, of Springfield, said the competition this year was really good and really tough. Jennings echoed that.

"Preparing for a competition like this is not a short term deal," Heatherly, of the 205th Area Support Medical Company, said. He has been staying physically fit and studying for the knowledge needed to be a strong candidate in the competition.

"I put it all on the line," he said. "It's an amazing honor to be the noncommissioned officer of the year." Jennings, of Stanberry, said the competition "pushes Soldiers to strive to be better and well rounded." He spent hours and hours studying to prepare for this competition.
"I came prepared," Jennings, of Battery A 1-129th Field Artillery, said. "And it's an honor to represent the state."

Also competing in the noncommissioned officer category were: Staff Sgt. William Johnson, of Webb City, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 203rd Engineer Battalion in Joplin; Sgt. Jordan Felt, of Blue Springs, with Detachment 1 of the Headquarters 35th Infantry Division; Sgt. Tiara Carr, of Warrensburg, with Company C of the 1-135th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Whiteman Air Force Base; and Sgt. William Floyd, of Lee's Summit, with the 205th Area Support Medical Company in Kansas City.

Due to prior obligations, Carr will represent the Missouri National Guard at the 2012 Regional Best Warrior Competition at Camp Ashland, Neb., as the noncommissioned officer.

Also competing in the soldier category were: Spc. Christopher Calliotte, of Joplin, with the Forward Support Company of the 203rd Engineer Battalion in Joplin; Spc. Randall Mayo, of Belton, is with Company D of the 1-135th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Whiteman Air Force Base;
Pfc. Richard Ransdell, of Clinton, with Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1/138th Infantry Regiment in Kansas City; and Pfc. Bryan Samsel, of Fair Grove, with Detachment 1 of the Headquarters 25th Infantry Division.

The combination of multiple tests allows the Missouri National Guard to get the best representative or the total Warrior package academically, technically and physically.

"The Missouri Soldiers thrive on it," said Schulte. He continued to say that he was sure each Soldier wished they had one more shot at an event or at a competitor during combatives because they knew in their mind, they could do better.

For more information about the Missouri National Guard, please visit www.moguard.com and our social media sites: www.facebook.com/Missouri.National.Guard; www.twitter.com/Missouri_NG; www.youtube.com/MoNationalGuard; www.myspace.com/missouri_ng; www.flickr.com/photos/missouriguard; www.moguard.com/blog; www.pinterest.com/monationalguard/

 

Staff Sgt. William Johnson, of Webb City, and Sgt. Jordan Felt, of Blue Springs, battle each other during the combatives portion of the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year competition. Johnson is with Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 203rd Engineer Battalion in Joplin and Felt is with Detachment 1 of the Headquarters 25th Infantry Division. (Photo by Rachel Knight/Missouri National Guard)

 

Pfc. Richard Ransdell, of Clinton, and Pfc. Bryan Samsel, of Fair Grove, battle each other during the combatives portion of the Soldier of the Year competition. Ransdell is with Headquarters and Headquarters Company of the 1/138th Infantry Regiment in Kansas City and Samsel is with Detachment 1 of the Headquarters 25th Infantry Division. (Photo by Rachel Knight/Missouri National Guard)

 

Spc. Christopher Calliotte, of Joplin, descends down the cargo net on an obstacle during the Soldier of the Year confidence course portion of the Best Warrior competition. Calliotte is with the Forward Support Company of the 203rd Engineer Battalion in Joplin. (Photo by Rachel Knight/Missouri National Guard)

 

Sgt. Tiara Carr, of Warrensburg, leaps over the wall during the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year confidence course portion of the Best Warrior competition. Carr is with Company C of the 1-135th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Whiteman Air Force Base. (Photo by Rachel Knight/Missouri National Guard)

 

Sgt. William Floyd, of Lee's Summit, weaves through the Weaver obstacle during the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year confidence course portion of the Best Warrior competition. Floyd is with the 205th Area Support Medical Company in Kansas City. (Photo by Rachel Knight/Missouri National Guard)

 

Spc. James Heatherly descends down the cargo net on an obstacle during the Soldier of the Year confidence course portion of the Best Warrior competition. Heatherly, of Springfield, won first place during the competition and is with the 205th Area Support Medical Company in Kansas City. (Photo by Rachel Knight/Missouri National Guard)

 

Spc. Randall Mayo low crawls through an obstacle during the Soldier of the Year confidence course portion of the Best Warrior competition. Mayo, of Belton, is with Company D of the 1-135th Attack Reconnaissance Battalion at Whiteman Air Force Base. (Photo by Rachel Knight/Missouri National Guard)


Missouri National Guard   ::   2302 Militia Drive   ::   Jefferson City, MO 65101   ::   888-526-MONG (888-526-6664)
Copyright © 2013 Missouri National Guard. All rights reserved.