Former drill sergeant and his Soldier named Best Warriors of Region IV

Former drill sergeant and his Soldier named Best Warriors of Region IV

Michigan National Guard

 

Date: 05.14.2019
Posted: 05.14.2019 15:33
News ID: 322408

Preparing for the Next Great War: Best Warriors of Region IV rise to the challenge

Photo By Spc. Samantha Hall | Wisconsin Army National Guardsmen Sgt. Jason Wagner navigates the stress-fire course at the Region IV Best Warrior Competition held May 7-10, 2019 on Fort Custer, MI. The timed event involved returning rounds of live ammunition while navigating a chemical attack and evacuating a 180 lb dummy. (Michigan National Guard photo by Spc. Samantha Hall)

Michigan Army National Guardsmen Sgt. 1st Class Jamison Yager, a military policeman with the 177th Military Police Brigade and Spc. Kenneth Klett, a fire control specialist with the 1-182nd Field Artillery Regiment, will represent Michigan at the National Best Warrior Competition after finishing first in their respective classes at the Best Warrior Competition for Region IV held May 7-10, 2019 on Fort Custer, Michigan.

This is the first time since 2009 that the Michigan Army National Guard will compete on the national stage for the Best Warrior Competition, besting the junior enlisted and non-commissioned officer candidates from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin to represent Region IV in Oklahoma in July.

“I don’t think our soldiers often understand what they’re capable of,” said Sgt. Maj. Rebecca Witt of the 177th Military Police Brigade, the point of contact and primary organizer of hosting the regional event. “I think stuff like this proves to them that they’re capable of digging in and pushing through even when they think they’re not going to.”

The competition was composed of three days of events designed to challenge every aspect of the warrior capabilities of the competitors. They were expected to accomplish athletic feats, including a times 12-mile ruck march, obstacle course, Army Physical Fitness Test and nighttime grenade course; academic feats, including boards, Army Service Uniform inspection, and demonstration of Army Warrior Tasks; and implementation of both, including a day-night land navigation course and live stress-fires.

This is the fourth year Yager has competed for this title on Fort Custer during his 16-year career in the Army, having competed at the state level 3 times and winning this past year, which earned him a spot to compete in regionals.

“Experience is probably my biggest advantage,” said Yager. “Don’t underestimate an old man in a young man’s profession.”

Yager previously served as a Recruit Sustainment Program drill sergeant, where Klett was his soldier. When they were selected to compete in the regional compeition, Yager once again helped Klett prepare for the challenge ahead of him.

Klett, who has competed in the state competition twice in his 3 years of service, thanks Yager the support he gave.

“It’s been really encouraging to train with him and see the Soldier I’ve become,” Klett said. “There was a lot of good competition here.”

What advice would these Best Warriors give to Soldiers looking to compete in future events?

“Come to rip faces,” Klett said with a grin.

“Don’t let minor setbacks discourage you,” said Yager. “Everybody bombs something in these competitions. You’ve just got to keep going.”

These competitors also place a lot of their success in the support they’ve received from their families in training and studying for the events.

Jordan Klett, the wife of Spc. Kenneth Klett, is already getting ready to help her husband hit the books again.

“It’s time to go back to the Army doctrine,” she said with a smile.

Yager thanks his fiancé Jade who has “enforced my training schedules, bolstered me in my moments of self-doubt and listened to my complaints of sore legs and bruised shoulders with true empathy.”

Lt. Col. Raymond Stemitz, deputy commander of the 177 Military Police Brigade, urged the importance of competitions like this in highlighting soldiers who are leading the way in preparing for the next great conflict, which will demand the best of our servicemembers.

“You’ve already shown you have the moxy to be here.” Stemitz said. “Thank you for being winners.”

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