Two officers from the 39th Brigade Engineer Battalion were named best Sapper on Thursday, according to a release from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, while four noncommissioned officers from the 82nd Airborne Division aced the Best Mortar competition at Fort Benning, Georgia.
Capt. John Baer and 1st Lt. Terence Hughes were named best Sappers, the second year in a row for a Fort Campbell, Kentucky, team, according to the release. Second place went to Staff Sgt. Lucas Tucker and 1st Lt. Sabin Vaira from the 27th Engineer Battalion at Fort Bragg, while Capt. Erwin Marciniak and 1st Lt. Jeremy Matsumoto of Fort Carson, Colorado’s 299th Brigade Engineer Battalion took third.
Fifty teams competed over three days in events like weapons assembly and disassembly, sling loading, land navigation and wall ascension.
At Benning, four-man infantry mortar sections braved three days of events to test their general combat fitness, as well as their expertise on 60, 81 and 120mm rounds.
Two members of Army Special Operations Command are the soldier and NCO of the year.
The top three teams were:
- Staff Sgt. James Pennington, Sgt. Alec Norton, Spc. Christian Elliot and Pfc. Loren Dow from 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
- Staff Sgt. Gary Stewart, Cpl. Ty Frame, Spc. Kyle Bunnell and Pfc. Jonathan Schweinhaupt of 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas.
- Staff Sgt. Jerome Urias, Sgt. Justin Peyton, Pfc. Bailey Hamilton and Pvt. John Milynarek of 4th Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas.