Airman Competes with Army Warriors

  • Published
  • By SrA Enjoli Saunders
  • 175th Wing

“You have to get comfortable being uncomfortable,” said Tech. Sgt. Brenton Deal, a bioenvironmental engineer assigned to the 175th Medical Group, Maryland Air National Guard. “Each person has to be self-motivated and driven to compete from within.”

Deal is the first airman to participate in the Maryland Army National Guard’s Best Warrior Competition held annually at different locations in Maryland. This year’s competition took place at the Edgewood Chemical Biological Center and Gunpowder Military Reservation March 16–19, 2017. The 18 competitors reflected great diversity with participants from four different military services and three distinctive countries.

“When I signed up I had no idea what it was… but it sounded like fun,” said Deal. “Competition is a big motivator for me, even board games, I don’t like to lose.”

When asked, Deal gladly accepted the opportunity to participate in the premier competition that establishes the Maryland Army National Guard’s solider and non-commissioned officer of the year. He prepared for this event in a matter of months where most people might prepare for up to a year.

“In the months leading up to the event, either my wife was pregnant or I was home with a new born, it was difficult to find time to work out,” explained Deal. “I found myself working out late hours of the night when everyone else was sleeping.”

Despite all of the training and preparation, Deal still experienced the unexpected.

“I’ve never trained to break down and put together an M4 while singing the Air Force song wearing my dress blues in front of five command sergeant majors,” said Deal. “But that’s what they asked me to do so I did it. I just wanted to represent the 175th well.”

The competition consisted of mental and physical challenges. The first task was a written test. The competitors were also required to disassemble and reassemble weapons, display their marksmanship abilities, apply land navigation techniques, complete a 9-mile ruck march, and many other demanding tasks.

“I don't believe that we could have selected a better person to represent the wing for the first time in the Best Warrior Competition,” said Chief Master Sgt. Stanley Dulski, 175th Wing Command Chief. “He was extremely positive and motivated to give his absolute best to compete well and represent the 175th Wing well.”

Camaraderie at the event was something pretty special, expressed Deal. Although each participant was in direct competition, he noticed everyone was very supportive of one another and willing to assist when needed.

“Senior leadership did a great job of alleviating some of the tension and they made it a fun event,” said Deal. “It’s something I’ll always remember and encourage anyone who’s interested to go for it!”

The winners of the event were recognized by Governor Larry Hogan, the Maryland House of Delegates, and the Senate at the State House in Annapolis, Maryland.

One of the toughest tests of a Citizen Soldier or Airman's resolution and training is the Best Warrior Competition, a multi-day marathon of mental and physical trials that push these elite Soldiers and Airmen beyond their limits.(Photo by Maryland National Guard/RELEASED)