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Soldiers and Noncommissioned Officers from the 21st Signal Brigade competed to be the ‘best of the best’ at Camp Dawson, West Virginia April 16 and 17.

For two days, 13 competitors and seven participants tested their Military Occupational Specialty proficiency, mental aptitude, and physical fitness through written exams, urban warfare simulations, and other Soldier tasks and drills relevant to the Army’s current operational environment.

Following the competition, Spc. Samantha Dubuis, 578th Signal Company, 302nd Signal Battalion, was named Soldier of the Year and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for her overall expertise, technical skills and performance. She will represent the 21st Signal Brigade during the 7th Signal Command (Theater) Soldier and NCO of the Year Board.

Sgt. Ediloberto Ramos, 327th Signal Company, 302nd Signal Battalion, was named the Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and awarded the Army Commendation Medal for his performance, dedication to the mission, and initiative in preparation for the competition.

Soldiers from as far away as Camp Roberts, California arrived April 15 to in-process and receive an overall brief of events and expectations during the competition from Command Sgt. Maj. Lewis Stanley, 302nd Signal Battalion.

“Our number one priority is safety first. This is a competition, but a training event as well,” stated Stanley. “This is a great opportunity for junior Soldiers and NCOs to expand on their technical expertise, which in turn will make them well-rounded signalers.”

Soldiers were given several packets for clarification of events, tasks, standards, and conditions. They were briefed on the tasks of the 12 events of the Best Warrior Competition, the standards to receive a passing score, and training exercises that they must receive a passing score in order to remain competitive: Army Physical Fitness Test and M16 Weapon Qualification Range.

After in-processing and accountability, the Soldiers changed into the Army Physical Fitness Uniform to be screened for compliance of height and weight. “I feel confident going into the competition,” said Sgt. Torrin Gray, 514th Signal Company, 302nd Signal Battalion. “Everyone out here deserves recognition for making it this far.”

After the competition, the closing ceremony recognized all the participants as well as the winners of the BWC.

“I’m proud of the NCOs that took the time -- the blood, sweat, and tears -- to sponsor you,” said Lt. Col. Kim Bivin, deputy commander of 21st Signal Brigade. “I’m honored... to be in the company of such a robust group of individuals.”