In July 2017, 14 Army National Guard (ARNG) Soldiers gathered at Camp Ripley near Little Falls, Minnesota to compete in the 2017 ARNG Best Warrior Competition. After three grueling days of competition, SGT Grant Reimers, a heavy vehicle operator in the Nevada ARNG, was awarded the title of ARNG Soldier of the Year.
The ARNG Best Warrior Competition is an annual event that tests the mental and physical agility of Soldiers from across the nation. To qualify, each Soldier must first master a series of mental, physical, and technical skills and participate in competitions at the state and regional level. The goal of the competition is to determine the best all-around Soldiers.
After winning the state and regional events, Reimers and 14 other top-performing Guard Soldiers advanced to compete in the 2017 ARNG Best Warrior Competition. During the three-day competition, Reimers and his competitors tackled a variety of challenges. Although the physical events were tough, he found the mental aspects to be the most difficult. Relying on an average of three hours of sleep a night, Soldiers were tasked with competing in events such as a night land navigation course and half marathon ruck march. “It’s hard to get up at 3 a.m. and motivate yourself to keep going,” Reimers said.
When he felt himself losing motivation, he would find inspiration from other Soldiers. “We were all going through the same thing, so we helped each other get through it,” he said. By the end of the event, he had built a strong bond with his fellow competitors.
Reimers is the first to admit that finding time to get in a daily workout can be tough. Balancing a full-time course load at school with his responsibilities in the ARNG sometimes leaves little time for exercise. But he makes maintaining his readiness a priority. “Keeping up with the Army Physical Fitness Test [APFT] is a basic responsibility. Every Soldier should keep up with their fitness. Anything helps, even if it’s just a short workout,” Reimers said.
After winning the ARNG Best Warrior Competition, Reimers will go on to compete in the 2017 Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition in October. Armed with a training plan from the ARNG Warrior Training Center, Reimers now spends much of his time competing in long distance runs, sprints, and weight lifting.
Reimers knows the upcoming competition will be tough, but he’s focused on the positives. “Few people get the opportunity to compete in such a prestigious event. I’m just going to have fun and focus on doing my best,” he said.