CORTLANDT MANOR, N.Y. (WWTI) — National Guard soldiers from across New York State will be competing for the title of “Best Warrior” during the first week of April.

This annual competition began April 6 and will be held at the Camp Smith Training Site in Cortlandt Manor throughout the week.

According to the National Guard, Soldiers represent the Guard’s major commands and will compete in two categories including Soldiers in the rank of specialist or private and sergeants, staff sergeants and sergeants first class compete to see who is the top noncommissioned officer.

Soldiers will be tested on physical fitness, marksmanship, military knowledge and military skills. Those competing have already won similar events at the battalion and brihgade levels of competitions.

Additionally, Soldiers are tested on their knowledge in the areas of military justice, current events and Army history, security and intelligence operations, military courtesy, leadership, counseling and how to deal with chemical and biological weapons.

“Units from across the New York Army National Guard select their best, most motivated Soldiers to participate in our Best Warrior Competition,” New York Army National Guard Command Sgt. Major David Piwowarski said in a press release. “We are going to gauge that motivation across a spectrum of evaluations, from tactical knowledge, skills, physical fitness, marksmanship and mastery of Soldier skills. These Soldiers represent some of the best New York has in uniform.”

Competitors are graded in their ability to handle hands-on military tasks including emplacing a mine, performing first aid, and throwing a grenade- as well as their marksmanship ability with the M-4 rifle. The contestants must qualify with their assigned weapon and also score well during the “Stress Shoot” event that involves firing several different weapons.

The Soldiers will also be able to earn a German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge, which involves a few additional tests like pistol shooting and swimming in full uniform.

In the final event, Soldiers will compete in a 12-kilometer road march carrying a 35-pound pack and their weapons.

The winner of the New York competition will compete against Best Warrior winners from across the northeast. The winner of that competition goes to a national event.

New York’s Army National Guard Best Warrior competition will conclude in Cortlandt Manor on Saturday, April 9, 2022.