FORT A.P. HILL, Va. (Oct. 6, 2015) — The U.S. Army’s premier enlisted competition representing major commands from across the force wouldn’t be complete without the presence of the Army’s top enlisted Soldier.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army, or SMA, Daniel A. Dailey, the Army’s 15th sergeant major, filled the void as he arrived at the competition, early Oct. 5, ready to encourage his Soldiers and noncommissioned officers, or NCOs.
“I’m extremely proud of what you’re doing,” Dailey said. “I wish I could give you all the title of Best Warrior, I really do.”
Day two of the competition was marked with significantly different weather than the previous day. Clear skies accompanied Dailey on this particular day.
“We got some good weather. I bet you were thinking ‘I won’t have to do this thing man, the hurricane is coming,’ nope, we turned that thing around,” Dailey joked. “That’s the power of the sergeant major of the Army.”
The competitors, who began their day early with the Army Physical Fitness Test, followed by urban orientation, and immediately into an obstacle course, began to notice the differences in this year’s competition.
“This is unlike anything you’ve seen in the past. Because I’m trying to build physically-fit, mentally-tough Soldiers, that have knowledge, skills, and attributes capable of winning in complex roles in the future,” Dailey said.
Dailey is well known for being a proponent of Soldier physical fitness and growing the skills needed to excel in the Army.
“This competition needs to reinforce those base Soldier skills, and that’s the critical importance of it,” Dailey said. “Things like PT [physical training] are important, weapons qualifications is important, being able to shoot and move on the battlefield is critically important.”
“Regardless, at the end of the day what you do for the Army, the number one important thing you do is you fight and you win,” Dailey said.
Dailey’s message did not fall on deaf ears, as the group of competitors gave him a resounding “hooah!”
“If you came here just to win at the board, you aren’t going to win,” Dailey said.
This year’s Best Warrior Competition marks the first year the event is being held on Fort A.P. Hill, the first time the events are being engaged in a new, more physically-demanding manner, and the first time the Asymmetric Warfare Group, called quiet professionals by Dailey, are in charge of the Soldiers and competition.
“We have to reinforce what’s important,” Dailey said. “I can’t recognize the Soldier as being the best Soldier or best NCO in the Army and you fail a basic Soldier task.”
Dailey has plans to continue the growth of the competition in the future, ensuring the best of the best prevail.
“You can’t just show up on day one and expect to get a trophy,” Dailey said. “This is something, you will see in the future, we are going to progress, and this is something you will have to train hard, know your skills and be the best noncommissioned officer and Soldier.”
Like a true Army leader, you must lead by example, Dailey said.
“If I fail the physical fitness test, do you think I should be the sergeant major of the Army,” Dailey asked.
Although the group remained relatively silent, Dailey answered for them with a smile, no, and ensured it was OK for them to call him out on it.
“The highly-trained and highly-professional individuals here … are going to do a phenomenal job, and give you your task. It’s your job to do the best at your task,” Dailey said.
Seeing the sergeant major of the Army looking on while they engaged in their events was motivation for some. Dailey offered another incentive to motivate the Soldiers to compete with excellence during this phase of the competition, which could see competitors moving on to Washington, D.C., for phase two.
“If you get up to D.C. you get to come hang out at the SMA’s house, drink a beer, and eat some barbecue. How about that,” Dailey asked.
As Dailey and the Soldiers smiled at the thought, the focus remained on the competition at hand, and the top enlisted Soldier in the Army gave praise to his Soldiers and fellow warriors.
“There’s a whole lot of Soldiers who aren’t here, but you are,” Dailey said. “It’s because you care, because you want to go the extra distance, and I know that, and I appreciate it.”