Top Nevada soldiers distinguish themselves in contest |

Top Nevada soldiers distinguish themselves in contest

Spc. Rob Honeycutt
106th Public Affairs Detachment

LAS VEGAS ” Spc. Ryan Wagner, Sgt. Samuel England and 1st. Sgt. Robert Boldry emerged as the top competitors in the Nevada National Guard Soldier of the Year competitions Oct. 16-19 at the Clark County Armory. Wagner was named top soldier; England was the best sergeant and Boldry garnered the First Sergeant of the Year award.

Wagner, 26, is from Sparks. England, 23, is from Washoe Valley and Boldry, 43, lives in Carson City. Wagner and Boldry are both in the 485th Military Police Company headquartered in Fallon, and England’s unit is L Troop, 1/221st Cavalry in Yerington.

What was once a simple board of officers meeting to determine the top soldiers in the state is now a full-blown competition.

Soldiers and non-commissioned officers competed in a series of events including weapons qualifications, land navigation courses and a series of combat skills. The competitors also answered military questions before a board. Each of the tasks was worth a designated amount of points that were added to determine the winner.

The competition began with a physical fitness test in the early morning. Then the soldiers drew weapons and moved to the range for weapons qualifications. Soldiers then traveled to Mount Charleston for day and night land navigation courses.

After arriving at the armory, soldiers completed a five-mile road march before preparing for their board appearance.

Finally, the competitors moved to an awards ceremony where the winners were announced later that night.

The competition is a chance for soldiers to represent their units and display their skills.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jarod Kopacki, commandant for the Regional Training Institute, said the competition combined several skills that all soldiers should have.

“You’ve got to be smart, athletic, technical and competent,” Kopacki said. “Everything we were doing involved basic soldiering skills.”