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Meet 2021’s Best Warrior Contenders

One of the toughest tests of a warrior’s resolution and training is the Best Warrior Competition. The competition is a multi-day marathon of mental and physical trials, pushing these elite service members to their limits. This year’s competition is conducted at two locations throughout Maryland. The competition is open to junior enlisted, noncommissioned officers, and commissioned officers of the Maryland Army and Air National Guard. This year, soldiers from the Armed Forces of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Estonian Defence Force, our partnering nations, are not competing due to travel restrictions.


Spc. Richard Granke

68W – Healthcare Specialist
104th Medical Company Area Support

“A warrior to me, means being able to take up the front, lead your Soldiers, show them everything they need to do to make a successful mission, and learn from them.”

Noncommissioned Officers

Sgt. Charles Hellmann

31B – Military Police
200th Military Police Company

“The best advice I’ve gotten is to control the things that you can control and let go of the things that you can’t.”

Sgt. James McGill

68P – Radiology Specialist
224th Medical Company Area Support

“ I love competing with the best of the best. Right now in the Maryland National Guard, we have the some of the top competitors in the country.”

Sgt. Ronald Robison

35P – Cryptologic Linguist
629th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion

“I’ve done army competitions before … the Best Warrior Competition, Soldier of the Month, and Soldier of the Year when I was on active duty and they’re always a blast.”


Capt. Victor Nguyen

70B – Health Services Administration
1297th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion

“You got to place the mission first. You got to do what you got to do to accomplish that mission.”

Capt. Ryan Slaughter

31A – Military Police Officer
70th Regional Training Institute

“Being a warrior means always doing what’s right no matter how hard the circumstances can be. Preparing yourself mentally and physically to be tough so you can endure the rigors of combat.”

2nd Lt. Caleb Smith

35A – Military Intelligence Officer
629th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion

“I love challenges. I always need a reason to be fit and look forward to something. So I always enter into races or competitions of some sort.”