Local News

Soldiers Compete for 'Bragging' Rights

Posted July 9, 2000 7:00 a.m. EDT

— Being a soldier usually means working as part of a team. This week at Fort Bragg, some soldiers and non-commissioned Officers are on their own in one of the most challenging competitions of the year.

This year, 26 contestants are vying to be named the top soldier or non-commissioned officer of the 18th Airborne Corps.

The competition is fierce. Throughout the week, soldiers will be put to the test, showing off their physical abilities, as well as their military skills and knowledge.

Sgt. Lien Langley, the only woman to compete, is trying for the second year in a row. She is participating to make her unit look good.

"It's showing myself and everyone else I can compete in stuff like this and make it through," Langley said.

Making it through is not easy. Nine participants were disqualified at a single rifle competition Monday morning.

Spc. Shawn Broe, who is already the 82nd Airborne's Trooper of the Year, says he is competing to get valuable experience.

"It's just to challenge myself against my own peers, and see where I stand," he said.

Command Sgt. Maj. Charlie Thorpe says the competition will give the soldiers' careers significant boosts.

"In the long run, it will put them out ahead in their career path, if they stay in the military for 20 or 30 years," Thorpe said.

On Friday, the finalists will go before a board and answer a series of questions. Then, the winners will be announced and move on to Army-wide competitions.

Along with a nice entry on their resumés, the Soldier and NCO of the Year will each get other perks, including a savings bond, the Army Commendation Medal, and a set of dress blues.