Staff Sgt. Caleb J. Hockel, of Humboldt, Iowa represented 134th Medical Company, of Johnston, Iowa in the Iowa Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition, held March 17-19, at the Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center, in Johnston, and was named the runner-up in the Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) category. The three-day competition consisted of 15 events which tested Soldiers both physically and mentally.
Hockel was one of 21 Soldiers competing in this annual event, where competitors were split into two categories based on rank – junior enlisted and NCOs. In order to qualify for the state-level competition, Soldiers first had to compete at the battalion level.
Of the approximately 7,000 Soldiers in the Iowa Army National Guard, less than 30 qualify for the Iowa Best Warrior Competition.
The weekend started with the Army Physical Fitness Test, which scores competitors on push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run, followed by several weapons qualification courses, a written essay and exam, land navigation and a 12-mile march carrying 35 pounds of gear, among other rigorous events. At the completion of the competition, total scores were tallied and the winners were recognized at an award ceremony.
Spc. Nicholas A. Fenske, representing Troop C, 1st Squadron, 113th Cavalry Regiment, and Sgt. Dustin L. Goecke, representing Company D, 224th Brigade Engineer Battalion – the junior enlisted and NCO winners, respectively – advance to the Regional Best Warrior Competition, scheduled May 8-11, at the Camp Dodge Joint Maneuver Training Center.