AUGUSTA – The Maine Army National Guard is proud to announce that Spc. Timothy Phadungthin, a combat engineer in the 251st Engineer Company (SAPPER), Maine Army National Guard will represent New England at the National Guard Best Warrior Competition held in Utah this June.
Phadungthin is one of fifteen National Guardsman from New England who competed in the 2015 Best Warrior Competition at Camp Edwards, Mass. May 11-14. Soldiers from each state in Region 1-Maine, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Jersey and Rhode Island- competed in a grueling three day event which tested not just the physical capabilities of each soldier, but also demanded mental toughness, resilience and determination.
The Best Warrior Competition takes place within all components of the U.S. Army, including Active Duty, National Guard, and the Army Reserves. Two Guardsmen are selected from each state to participate in Best Warrior: one junior-enlisted soldier, and one noncommissioned officer. After being nominated by their individual units, they must compete against all of the other nominees in the state before attending Region I’s Best Warrior challenge. Maine has been sending Soldiers since the early 1990’s, and has had a handful of winners in the past, including 2013’s regional winner, Staff Sgt. Anthony Sturgis, now the readiness NCO for the 11th Civil Support Team- Weapons of Mass Destruction, Maine Army National Guard.
Phadungthin, who is a student at Southern Maine Community College, along with the other competitors spent weeks training for the competition, which requires both an advanced knowledge of basic soldier skills and better than average physical stamina.
He and the other competitors were tested on 10 events during the three days. Starting off with the Army Physical Fitness Test, soldiers moved through other tasks such as individual weapons qualifications, a night fire, a night day and night land navigation, an obstacle course, an appearance board, a test of soldier tasks and finally a twelve-mile road march carrying a minimum of a rifle and a 35 pound ruck sack.
“I have spent a lot of time studying and getting ready for today,” said Phadungthin. “I have good leadership at the company level, nearly everyone has worked to help me be successful here. My mentor, Sgt. 1st Class Josh Way, has really been a pivotal role in my success here, and I am looking forward to continuing forward and competing at Nationals.”
Cmd. Sgt. Maj. Scott Doyon, Command Sergeant Major for the Maine Army National Guard said he was proud of both Phadungthin, and Staff Sgt. Alyson Pelletier, a broadcast journalist with the state’s 121st Public Affairs Detachment, who also competed at the NCO level and placed fifth overall.
“These young Soldiers have trained exceptionally hard for a competition that gets more and more difficult every year,” said Doyon. “Both of these soldiers are not only a testament to themselves, but also to the quality and caliber of our senior NCO’s that have donated their time to help prepare them.”
Doyon said that the competition was very close at both levels.
“The top spots were points away from one another,” he said. “This was not a run-a-way by any means. All of the soldiers who competed were clearly the right individuals to be here as they all did a great job.”
Phadungthin, who was clearly surprised when his name was announced as the regional winner is looking forward to competing in Utah. Out of the 14 competitors that will compete there, two will move on to compete in the U.S. Army’s Best Warrior Competition where they will compete against the best from the U.S. Army Forces Command, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army Africa, U.S. Army Materiel Command, U.S. Army Medical Command, U.S. Army Pacific Command, U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, U.S. Army Special Operations Command, U.S. Army Installation Management Command, U.S. Army Reserve Command, U.S. Army Service Component Command, and the National Capitol Region.
“This has been a tough, challenging, but also fun journey,” he said. “I have learned a lot of new skills, but I have also improved my existing knowledge set. I was just trying to win for my state and compare my overall abilities with the best in the region. Every event was challenging, and we never knew where we stood. I just came out and did my best in every event, and I will do the same in Utah.”