SHERIDAN – Sgt. Tyler Holloway, a fire support specialist with the 115th Field Artillery Brigade in the Wyoming National Guard, was named the Army National Guard’s senior noncommissioned officer of the year.
He earned this distinction by winning the All-Guard Best Warrior 2022 competition held July 22-29 in Tennessee.
sergeant. Spencer Fayles, a combat medic with the 144th Area Support Medical Co. in the Utah National Guard, was named top soldier of the year for the competition.
The announcement was made July 29, 2022 in Nashville at the Old Hickory Country Club. Fourteen competitors and dozens of other Army and Air National Guard personnel and supporters gathered in a ceremony to celebrate the achievements of these Soldiers over the previous week.
Holloway is the first soldier from Wyoming to earn the Army National Guard NCO of the Year award.
“We’ve had other soldiers win the regional event, but this is the first time a Wyoming soldier has topped the entire platoon. Watch Sgt. Holloway’s training and performance m ‘remembered everything we should be proud of in Wyoming,’ said Command Sgt. Major Lindsay Schmidt, state command sergeant major of the Wyoming National Guard.
On July 22, soldiers from Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia and Wyoming gathered in Tennessee. Each represented a region after winning top honors in smaller regional competitions. They are the best of the best in the country for the Army National Guard.
The week-long national competition was held at five locations across the state of Tennessee. The grueling competition imposed strenuous tasks on the soldiers that tested their abilities as soldiers mentally and physically.
More than 30 graded events allowed competitors to complete tasks including water survival, combat ability testing, combat casualty care, and marksmanship drills. There was a high value target extraction where fire crews infiltrated a compound together in teams. There was also a Valor Run, where competitors performed simulated tasks based on real events experienced by Medal of Honor recipients. These are just a few examples of the high intensity events that have occurred.
Holloway’s strategy throughout the competition? Humor.
The humor lifted the spirits of Holloway and his 13 other contestants through the grueling competition.
“I always try to laugh through the pain, and if I can joke around and make someone else smile and take their attention away from the pain, then I know I’m making it easier for them and for myself” , Holloway said.
Holloway would often joke around, trying to make his fellow contestants laugh whenever they had a little downtime between events. The camaraderie between the competitors was like no other. You could tell it was contagious.
Each competitor pushed themselves to their limits and beyond.
“I’ve learned that the limits I can push are much further than I ever imagined,” Holloway said. “I also learned that I don’t give myself enough credit for my knowledge of certain tactics and techniques. It really made me a better NCO and allowed me to expand my influence around me. “
The final event was a 16-mile march through Lynchburg, Tennessee. Competitors traveled by truck on busy rural town roads with all their gear on their backs. Towards the end, they carried their respective flags to the finish line. You could feel the relief coming from the soldiers as they crossed the finish line and realized they had reached the end of the competition.
“Competitions like this inspire our soldiers to strive for excellence and to find and push their limits,” said Master Sgt. Maj. Dale Crockett, command sergeant major of the Tennessee National Guard. “Rigorous and realistic training is essential to ensure soldiers are prepared to fight and win our country’s battles. These highly trained and disciplined soldiers are role models for our formations.”
“Having a soldier from Wyoming take home this incredible honor is humbling,” said Maj. Gen. Gregory Porter, Wyoming’s adjutant general. “I’m proud of Sgt. Holloway and I know this event represented months of individual training. He set his sights on performing and winning at this level and he made Wyoming proud. Sgt. Holloway represents National Guard lethality in Wyoming and last week in Tennessee he rode for the mark!”
Holloway and Fayles will face Regular Army and Army Reserve teams this fall along with the rest of their team, Master Sgt. Bryan Kummer of the Nebraska National Guard, Spc. Austin Manville of the New York National Guard, and Spc. Nathaniel Miska of the Minnesota National Guard.
This story was published on August 11, 2022.