Small explosions, gunfire, white plumes of smoke from grenades and Soldiers strapped with gas masks were all a part of day three of the XVIII Airborne Corps Best Warrior Competition.
Twenty-two of the corps’ finest competed against one another Tuesday to see who was the best-of-the-best as NCOs and Soldiers.
“It’s taking everything a Soldier is and finding out the whole Soldier concept because you can’t just be great at one individual event,” said 1st Sgt. Jordan Lee, 18th Field Artillery Brigade.
“So what we are doing is evaluating on everything. “We want to find the best NCO and Soldier that the XVIII Airborne Corps has to offer,” he added.

Small explosions, gunfire, white plumes of smoke from grenades and Soldiers strapped with gas masks were all a part of day three of the XVIII Airborne Corps Best Warrior Competition.

Twenty-two of the corps’ finest competed against one another Tuesday to see who was the best-of-the-best as NCOs and Soldiers.

“It’s taking everything a Soldier is and finding out the whole Soldier concept because you can’t just be great at one individual event,” said 1st Sgt. Jordan Lee, 18th Field Artillery Brigade.

“So what we are doing is evaluating on everything. “We want to find the best NCO and Soldier that the XVIII Airborne Corps has to offer,” he added.

Service members from not only Fort Bragg, but Fort Stewart, Georgia and Fort Drum, New York, started the day off with land navigation exercises. This skill is vital to Soldiers’ readiness because they can quickly plot their position on a map and navigate to another known location regardless of where they deploy.

Following the land navigation exercises, the Soldiers had the rest of the day to accomplish the warrior tasks and battle drills.

Lee said the service members were being evaluated on basic Soldier skills that they should already know. Additionally, their competencies were tested through various types of lane scenarios such as weapon assembly and reassembly.

One of the tasks that seemed more challenging for some of the Soldiers was the weapons reassembly lane.

“Time constraint is a big thing,” said Staff Sgt. Ifegwu Ifegwu, 1st Squadron, 89th Cavalry Regiment, Fort Drum, New York.

“Going through the skills we have to go through with weapon systems, everyday basic Soldiery skills, it was difficult mainly because of the time, he said. “However, it was a great experience, and it shows where I am lacking when it comes to basic skills.”

Specialist Alison Helmick, 3rd Battalion, 27th Field Artillery Regiment, 18th Fires Brigade, described her experience in the weapons reassembly lane.

“It was tough because all the parts were jumbled together in the same toolbox, and you had to get it assembled within seven minutes,” she said.

The warrior tasks portion of the completion consists of shooting (operating and qualifying with different weapons), communications, urban operations, moving (navigation) and battle drills.

Lee said during these five days of intense competitiveness, participants engage in demonstrating critical thinking, formal board interviews, physical fitness challenges, written exams, warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today’s operating environment.

The winners of this week’s XVIII Abn. Corps Best Warrior Competition will move on to compete in the Forces Command event and then at the Army level.