By Staff Sgt. Noshoba Davis, Louisiana National Guard Public Affairs Office
PINEVILLE, La. – The Louisiana National Guard’s top 18 Soldiers and Airmen from across the state competed in the 2023 Best Warrior Competition (BWC) at Camp Beauregard in Pineville and Camp Villere in Slidell, March 7-10.
The BWC is an annual event that tests Soldiers and noncommissioned officers (NCO) on their basic and advanced warriorskills with the top two being named Soldier and NCO of the Year. Throughout the four-day event, competitors were given multiple exercises and scenarios that tested them physically and mentally.
The competition started with service members conducting an Army Combat Fitness Test, and upon completion, competitors changed into their Army and Air Force service uniforms to conduct board interviews with the Joint Force Headquarters’ senior enlisted advisors and command sergeants major from across the state. Upon completing the board interviews, competitors moved into a classroom to complete an individual essay followed by a mystery event.
On the second and third days, competitors conducted several events, including individual weapons qualification, day and night land navigation, an obstacle course and a water survival test.
“I really enjoyed the obstacle course. I’m always taking my kids to places like airborne extreme, trampoline parks or rock climbing so the obstacle course was really fun for me,” said Spc. Paul Allyn of Denham Springs. “I’m hoping to improve my knowledge on weapons systems like the M2A1 .50 Caliber Machine Gun and MK 19 grenade launcher and learning as much as I can.”
This was the second year the Louisiana Air National Guard competed alongside the Army competitors and the second year for competitor Staff Sgt. Dayton House of Belle Chasse.
“It’s not just a specific event, but the camaraderie between both branches,” said House. “You just instantly click because you have similar stories, and we feed off one another. The best thing though is that camaraderie being built, and the skill sets you learn during the competition.”
The competition concluded on Day 4 with a stress shoot and a 12-mile ruck march.
Staff Sgt. Christian Coalgrove a native of Covington and member of the 1021st Engineer Vertical Construction Company, and Allyn, a member of the 3-156th Infantry Regiment, were announced as the competition winners and named LANG’s 2023 NCO and Soldier of the year, respectively.
During the awards ceremony, competitors were joined by Command Sgt. Maj. Sud A. Robertson, LANG senior enlisted advisor-Army; Command Chief Master Sgt. Gerald G. Raynal Jr., LANG senior enlisted advisor-Air; along with command sergeants major and commanders from across the state.
“Congratulations to each and every one of you for competing in this competition. To our runners-up and winners, I have no doubt that you are more than capable to take it to the next level,” said Robertson.
“Competitors, thank you for accepting the challenge, and thanks for pushing yourselves,” said Raynal. “Ya’ll did a phenomenal job, and I’m proud of you and glad to be a part of your team.”
Coalgrove and Allyn will represent Louisiana in the Region V Best Warrior Competition at Camp Crowder, Missouri, from May 7-12.