FORT BRAGG, NC – The U.S. Army Special Forces Command NCO and Soldier of the Year Competition saw Soldiers from the five active-duty Special Forces Groups compete against one another for five grueling days at Fort Bragg May 9 – 12 to see who would be crowned the regiment’s top non-commissioned officer and Soldier.
Taking titles as the command’s top Soldier and NCO respectively were Spc. Christopher Thompson, of 5th Special Forces Group, Fort Campbell, Ky., and Staff Sgt. Samuel Winslow, 10th Special Forces Group, Fort Carson, Colo.
“This is a great day and I am very honored to be a part of this,” said Command Sgt. Maj. William B. Zaiser, USASFC Command Sgt. Maj. “All these Soldiers over here and all these NCOs are all winners, because they have already won their group-level Soldier of the Year or NCO of the Year competition.”
The Soldiers battled their way through a variety of tasks throughout the week. From warrior tasks and drills to a stress shoot, to night land navigation and an oral board.
The top Soldier in the competition said this has been the best thing he has done in the Army and when asked how he felt about the honor he was still surprised.
“It’s amazing; it is simply unexplainable right now,” said North Carolina native Christopher Thompson, a signal intelligence analyst for Group Support Company, Group Support Battalion, 5th SFG. “All the competitors were the best of the best and I was honored to be among them; it’s just awesome.”
This year’s top NCO said it was his fellow Soldiers who helped him get through the entire event along with a lot of individual training that got him to the winner’s spot.
“I am pretty pleased with myself, I will not lie, but I trained hard for this and got great support from my company and my battalion and group,” said Winslow, an Arkansas native who now hails from Colorado Springs, Colo., and is assigned to the 10th SFG. “This success for me here is really a reflection of all the hard work and support that I have received from my group and people back home.”
Staff Sgt. Melisha Kidd, with Group Support Company, Group Support Battalion, 3rd SFG, said of the competition: “One word: challenging,”
A native of Compton, Calif., Kidd said she learned from her fellow NCOs during the competition, but that wasn’t always easy to do.
“It’s difficult to learn from these guys because it is a competition,” she said. “But overall it was a good learning experience.”
Soldiers in the competition competed for months at the battalion and group level leading up to the event.
Thompson and Winslow will go on to compete later in the year at the U.S. Army Special Operations Command competition in June. Winners of that competition will go on to compete at the Army level.
Should either the top Soldier or NCO be unable to continue to represent the Special Forces command, an alternate will take his place. This year’s top Soldier and NCO alternates were Spc. Brian Marquis, 7th SFG, Fort Bragg; and Sgt. 1st Class Caleb Farrell, 5th SFG, Fort Campbell, Ky., respectively.