FORT PICKETT, Va. –
After four days of intense competition at the Virginia National Guard Best Warrior Competition, Sgt. Jake Moyer was named the Virginia National Guard’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, while Spc. Miguel Bustillo was named the Soldier of the Year Feb. 25, 2018, at Fort Pickett, Virginia. Moyer is assigned to 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, while Bustillo is assigned to the 134th Cyber Security Company, 91st Cyber Brigade.
“In this competition we have always had good Soldiers, but this year is the best I’ve seen in three years,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Cheyenne Johnson, Virginia Army National Guard Command Sergeant Major. “Our Soldiers did really well this weekend and it was a very strenuous experience.”
A total of 10 Soldiers – five NCOs and five junior enlisted Soldiers – participated in the competition. In order to compete at the state level, Soldiers had to first win at the battalion and brigade level, according to Johnson.
Johnson explained that the competition started Thursday evening with a written exam and continued through the weekend. On Friday, the Soldiers started their day in the early morning hours with land navigation and then set off on a 6.2-mile road march which led them to the range where they showed off their marksmanship skills on the rifle, pistol and shotgun before ending the day with Warrior Task testing.
“All these basic soldiering skills I don’t practice often because I’m with Cyber so I focus on other things, but I would say the most fun and exhilarating thing for me was definitely shooting on the weapons systems,” Bustillo said.
On Saturday, the Soldiers started their day with an Army Physical Fitness Test followed by an obstacle course, a grenade throw and then a mystery event that had the Soldiers assembling weapons and performing functions checks.
Bustillo said having the APFT on the third day of the event, after long nights and a full day of land navigation and a ruck march was, “a good way to keep people humble.”
“For me, the most challenging obstacle was the land navigation course, which kicked my butt and, fortunately, it kicked everyone else’s butt too so it didn’t drag me too far behind,” Moyer said. “It was definitely a big learning experience this weekend.”
Bustillo agreed with Moyer on the difficulty of the land navigation course, and said that he was “a little upset when I came back with one point.”
Moyer said the best part of the competition was meeting the other competitors, making new friends and “being surrounded by the best of Virginia.” He said seeing the hard work that went into the event was inspiring.
On Sunday, the final day of the competition, the Soldiers gathered at the 183rd Regiment, Regional Training Institute for an appearance board and then the winners were announced.
“I feel like I tried my best and everyone else tried their best and it was a narrow margin, but in the end I came out on top and that’s an awesome feeling,” Moyer said.
Bustillo said he was nervous and excited for the duration of the event but, “After they called my name and said that I was first, it was just a flush of euphoria. I was like, ‘oh my gosh, it actually happened, the cyber guy beat a bunch of combat arms people.’”
With a win at the state level, both Bustillo and Moyer will go on to compete at the regional level in May. The regional match will be held at Fort Pickett and will include Soldier competitors from six states. Both Moyer and Bustillo plan to spend the next few months training in preparation for the regional competition.
“I’m really excited,” Bustillo said. “I’m just happy to be here, honestly. I came out and did my best and it turned out pretty well.”