T-Bird battles for Guard’s Best WarriorJuly 30, 2013
During a grueling three-day test of his physical and mental abilities, Sergeant Conlee Luke, a senior studying engineering technology at Southern Utah University and a noncommissioned officer in the Army National Guard, took sixth place at the National Guard Best Warrior Competition in Little Rock, Ark.
Prior to the national competition, Luke took first at the Region VII Army National Best Warrior Competition and was named its Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
Competing against other noncommissioned officers and soldiers from across the country, Luke placed first in three of the ten events at nationals—nine-millimeter target shoot, stress shoot, M4 qualification and warrior task. At the regional competition, Luke placed first in four of the ten events—ruck march, written exam, weapon qualifications and obstacle course.
Of Luke’s performance, Lieutenant Colonel Hank McIntire with the Utah National Guard said, “To compete at this level and then place in three of the events speaks highly of the quality of soldiers coming out of Utah.”
He added, “Luke is a quality leader and has great potential. This won’t be the last time we hear from him.”
The competition pushed soldiers physically and mentally with intensive and events, such as the Army Physical Fitness Test, a written exam on general military topics, weapons qualification, and field exercises testing competitors on warrior tasks and battle drills.
In reference to his extraordinary achievement, Utah Army Staff Sergeant Aubrey Hill, Luke’s trainer for the competitions said, “This soldier is the perfect example of setting goals and pursuing them, no matter the cost. Throughout every event, no matter the difficulty, he stayed positive and always reached out to help those around him.”
It is that outward looking perspective that Command Sergeant Major Michael Miller sees as particularly promising. “At the different levels of competition Sgt. Luke trained to further enhance his military and professional skills. Now that he completed this competition, it allows him to share those skills with fellow soldiers, thus resulting in better units to serve when called upon.”
“I first joined the Army National Guard to help support myself while I was in school,” said Luke of his original goals related to his military service. “Now, five years later and a husband and father, that decision to join the National Guard has changed my career path. Having this honor as NCO of the Year for our region, and competing at nationals, will open several doors.”
Luke, a member of the 116th Engineer Company, 1457th Engineer Battalion, 204th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, joined the National Guard in 2008 and then took part in SUU’s ROTC program in 2010 and has since moved up in rank.