The competition required trekking miles of rolling, muddy terrain with a 40-pound weight on your back and a rifle in hand.
It tested marksmanship, physical condition and the ability to use a compass, followed by an interview by senior non-commissioned officers on the competitors’ “perspective” on military life.
The sergeant from Newton County. Hunter Davidson recently won the 2021 XVIII Airborne Corps NCO of the Year competition.
The 24-year-old will face other regional winners in August at Fort Bragg, North Carolina at the US Army Forces Command (FORSCOM) National Championship.
Davidson’s mother, Kathy Davidson, a Covington resident, said she and other family members knew “in our hearts and minds” as Staff Sgt. Davidson had a very good chance of winning.
âHe just has this determination,â she said.
Hunter is the youngest of five siblings and said seeing his parents’ “extreme work ethic” helped him prepare for the challenges of NCO competition and military life. in general.
âTo see them make ends meet where we could all play sports, we could all do the things we wanted to do, and see them both work out a few times at a time to make sure we lived – that work l ‘ethics and that dedication – that’s a big part of my success, âhe said.
The 2015 Eastside High School graduate is assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team and 3rd Infantry Division at Fort Stewart, according to an article posted on the Visual Information Distribution Service of defense of the US Department of Defense.
The five-year army veteran began his journey by winning the same type of competition in May at his home base at Fort Stewart in Hinesville.
From June 20-23, Davidson represented the 3rd Infantry Division and won the right to compete next month by defeating the winners of three other divisions.
During the June competition, Davidson finished 45 minutes ahead of his closest competition on day one which included a 19-hour land navigation test, the DOD publication reported.
Day two featured the 16-mile ruck, which included a brisk walk over hilly terrain with a 40-pound backpack.
Stops along the way that tested a number of skills added three miles to the ruck. The rain for part of the day added extra weight to the backpack and created muddy conditions which made parts of the course even more difficult to ride, he said.
âIt was super hilly. There were endless hills, âDavidson recalls.
He said those responsible for organizing the competition created a route and obstacles that the four had not seen.
The goal was to see which NCO was best able to cope with the obstacles they were unprepared for, Davidson said.
Then, to top off the physical and mental challenge, the judges kept the competitors going by not announcing a winner until a ceremony on the last day, he said.
Kathy Davidson said her son enjoyed field sports growing up and had participated in a number of organized sports before and during high school, excelling at baseball.
Hunter Davidson said he loved competing since he was 4, when he started playing baseball for a team in Covington.
He grew up playing most sports, such as wrestling and soccer, but spent most of his free time playing baseball for teams at City Pond and other local venues. He also spent many summers competing in other parts of Georgia and the Southeast with travel baseball teams.
Hunter is married to former Addie Boes, a Newton High School graduate who grew up in Oxford. The couple recently moved to a house in the nearby town of Midway rather than living on the base.
Hunter and Addie got married when Hunter was 19. He said he was working well with a landscaping company shortly after graduating from Eastside, but felt like something was missing in his life.
After enlisting, he trained in Europe and moved to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington State and Fort Stewart.
Kathy Davidson said Hunter let his parents know as a teenager that he wanted to join the military.
âHe wanted to be in the infantry,â she said.
Hunter Davidson agreed.
âIt’s something I’ve always thought about,â he said.
He said he saw the military as a way to help those without the resources who âcannot help themselvesâ around the world to fight the tyranny of extremist groups bent on violence. conquest.
âIt’s a different way of helping people,â he said.