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Minnesota National Guard
Minnesota Guard Soldiers and NCOs compete for annual title

The Minnesota Army National Guard held the Soldier and NCO of the Year competition April 11-15 at Camp Ripley After four days of fierce competition, Spc Peregrine Smith was selected as the Soldier of the Year and Sgt. 1st Class Joshua Schneider earned the honor of NCO of the Year Smith represented the 2nd Combined Arms Battalion, 136th Infantry and Schneider was from the Recruiting and Retention Battalion


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This year's competition included a physical fitness test, weapons qualification, a combatives tournament, the obstacle course, day and night land navigation, 15 Army warrior tasks, a 12-mile ruck march, combat water survival and an appearance board  The competition was intense and the points were extremely close! 

"This was the best competition I have ever seen," said Command Sgt Maj Cynthia Kallberg, the senior enlisted advisor for the Minnesota National Guard "The Soldiers had amazing skill sets and attitudes"

The events were very challenging and the days were long for the competitors The 12-mile ruck march was completed in the rain The competition ended with an awards ceremony on Apr 15

"It was a tough, challenging competition," said Schneider, who is a National Guard recruiter in central Minnesota "It is one of the greatest honors that I have achieved in my military career"

Soldiers who competed in the competition were nominated by the major commands of the Minnesota Army National Guard  Soldiers who competed with Schneider and Smith for the top honors included: Sgt Andrew Hardin, Sgt Casey Illies (NCO of the Year runner up), Sgt Kendra Zumbrunnen, Staff Sgt Sandra Johnson, Sgt Shawn Leisen, Spc Michael Bensen (Soldier of the Year runner up), Spc Peter McAnally, Pfc Rachel Anderson and Pfc Lucas Tousignant

Schneider and Smith will move on to the regional competition at Camp Grayling, Mich on May 14-17 with hopes of making it to the nationals in July

April 15, 2012
Story by Master Sgt Rich Kemp
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs




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