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News from the Oklahoma National Guard

NEWS | March 8, 2022

Oklahoma National Guardsmen compete for the title of best warrior

By Spc. Danielle Rayon, 145th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

Three Soldiers dressed in combat uniforms and carrying 35 pound ruck sacks made their way down the road, the sun rising behind them. A lone figure jogged out to meet them, cheering them on and running alongside them as they made their way to the finish line of an arduous 12-mile ruck march.

Spc. David Jeffrey, a member of 1st Squadron, 180th Cavalry Regiment, won the junior enlisted title of best warrior at the 20th annual Best Warrior Competition at Camp Gruber, Oklahoma, March 3-6, 2022. Jefferey was one of 21 competitors who battled it out in a series of physically and mentally demanding challenges for a chance to represent their command in the regional version of the competition.

Jeffrey was born in San Jose, Costa Rica, and moved to the United States at the age of six. He joined the National Guard out of a sense of gratitude for a country that afforded him freedoms and opportunities he would not have had otherwise.

“To me, this is the best country in the galaxy,” Jeffrey said. “I take pride in my uniform. I want to do my very best to give back what was given to me.”

The competitors went head-to-head and faced several of the challenges on their own. Teamwork and comradery were prevalent among the participants.

“Sure it’s a competition, but it’s not just all about you. It’s teamwork,” Jeffrey said. “Start together, finish together.”

Sgt. Maj. John Hernandez, senior enlisted leader, Oklahoma Army National Guard, defined a warrior as a Soldier who is passionate and strives to achieve more, no matter the subject. “Somebody that doesn’t have any quit,” Jeffrey said, echoing Hernandez’ perspective on what makes a warrior. “Even when you feel like things are hard, you drive on.”

Eleven junior enlisted and 10 noncommissioned officers completed a series of challenges designed to test their proficiency in basic Soldier skills. The events included marksmanship and weapons skills, day and night land navigation, the Army physical fitness test, an obstacle course, Army warrior tasks, and a board interview. The events culminated in a 12-mile ruck march on the final day of the competition.

The events challenged the competitors to determine who is the most accomplished in Soldier tasks and drills, but Jeffrey viewed the competition as a learning experience.

“I made some mistakes along the way, but I definitely learned my deficiencies and things that I could have done better,” said Jeffrey.

Hernandez hoped that the Soldiers gained experience from the competition and acquired new skills as warriors. “It helps Soldiers tighten up their skills,” Hernandez said. “Through the process, they’ll learn more skills.”

As the event concluded, Hernandez and other sergeants major from across Oklahoma congratulated the competitors for their hard work and dedication. Staff Sgt. Spencer Grayson, a member of 700th Brigade Support Battalion, earned the title of best warrior of the NCO’s competing. Grayson and Jefferey will compete in the regional Best Warrior Competition in May of this year.

Video by Cpl. Danielle Rayon
45th Field Artillery Brigade change of command
Oklahoma National Guard
June 15, 2024 | 1:34
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Army National Guard’s 45th Field Artillery Brigade held a change of command ceremony at the Mustang Armed Forces Reserve Center in Mustang, Oklahoma, June 15, 2024, signifying the end of Col. Johnnie Dale Moss’ tenure and welcoming Lt. Col. William Kale Rogers as the new commander. “I never had to worry about it with you in command,” said Maj. Gen. Thomas H. Mancino, adjutant general for Oklahoma, “I just couldn't be happier, more proud of you, for successfully completing this assignment.” Moss’ military journey began in February 1991, when he enlisted into the OKARNG as an infantryman. He later commissioned in 1994 and served in multiple positions throughout his career, including deployments to Kuwait, Azerbaijan and Germany. During the ceremony, Moss was presented with the Legion of Merit, recognizing him for his exceptionally outstanding conduct and meritorious service to the United States.