Community, Latest News

WV National Guard member to compete in national Best Warrior Competition

SYMRNA, Tenn. — A West Virginia National Guard member is preparing to test his warrior skills, grit and endurance in a national competition that starts this weekend in Tennessee.

Sgt. Jefferson Gwynn will represent West Virginia at the national level Best Warrior Competition in Smyrna, Tenn., Friday through July 29.

Gwynn is a combat engineer with the 119th Sapper Company in Moundsville. He grew up in Wheeling and will be a senior this fall at West Virginia University working toward a bachelor’s degree in energy land management.

Gwynn told MetroNews he went through a series of local competitions to get to this point.

“We had an in-house competition between our soldiers. I won that. We had a regional competition and I won that as well, same with the regional competition,” he said.

Activities will include an Army Combat Fitness Test, stress shooting with multiple weapons platforms, nighttime land navigation, combat medical triage, stabilization and evacuation skills, an obstacle course, a multi-mile ruck march and swimming proficiency, along with written essays and performance boards.

Gwynn said he will be pushed to his limits, both physically and mentally.

“The physical part is hard, but that’s something you can train for,” he said. “I definitely think the mental stuff is harder because you can’t train for that. I’ll definitely be hungry and tired.”
Coming from a military family helped Gwynn get to where he is now. His biggest support will come from his family who also serve in uniform, including his father, Lt. Col. Gary Gwynn and his brother Spc. Jason Gwynn.

“My dad was active duty Navy prior to me being born. When I was about 12 or 13 years old, he joined the Army National Guard, so he had some influence on me getting into the program,” he said.

Region II Soldier of the Year, Spc. Daniel Reading from the Maryland National Guard will join Gwynn during competition. Region II consists of Virginia, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.

Gwynn said it will be an honor to be surrounded by dedicated Guard members nationwide.

“I feel like it’s going to be the most humbling of the competitions so far. It’s going to be the best of the best of the National Guard. I don’t think it’s going to be easy. I’m pretty confident in myself, but I do think it’s going to be humbling,” he said.