CORTLAND — New York Army National Guard Cpl. Dakotah Miller, with the 2nd Battalion, 108th Infantry Regiment in Utica, placed second in the Army National Guard’s national Best Warrior Competition held in Camp Navajo, Arizona, July 19-23. Miller, a full-time student in exercise science at SUNY Cortland, competed at battalion, brigade, state, and regional levels, before giving his all in the national competition. It marked the fourth year in a row that the New York National Guard sent a competitor to the national level.
“This one included a 15-mile road march in the Arizona heat, as well Army Warrior Tasks, combat lanes, shooting events and physical fitness tests,” said New York State Command Sgt. Maj. David Piwowarski. Among the tests was also a “mystery event” Miller found out about on the day it took place — a patrol lane in which each soldier got to practice being a squad leader. That led to small groups being graded on their ability to conduct an urban assault operation on a training house.
Miller said the most challenging element of the competition was the combination of events, with constant movement between them. “There was this all-around camaraderie by the end of it...It definitely created more of a bond than any other competition,” he said.
In addition to being tested, the week-long competition also included opportunities to learn, with hands-on practice using explosives and exposure to less commonly-seen weapons they like the Barrett M82 .50 caliber sniper rifle.