“Team19” Best Warriors revealed

by Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Abril, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command
Stripes Korea

Ten Soldiers assigned to subordinate units of the 19th ESC came from across the peninsula to compete for the coveted title of Best Warrior. In a grueling process of elimination, Soldiers were mentally and physically challenged in 12 events spanning five consecutive days, Mar. 4-8.

“Our team pushed the limits of these competitors in several events to test their common Soldier tasks and drills,” said Master Sgt. Eric D. Cantrell, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 19th ESC Best Warrior Competition, and a native of Rupert, Idaho. “The amount of energy and motivation each Soldier brought to this competition was phenomenal and makes them all winners in my book.”

After a week of constant challenges, competitors waited patiently for the day winners would be announced. During the awards ceremony, four Soldiers were identified as the Best Warrior in the Korean Augmentation to the United States Army, junior enlisted, noncommissioned officer and officer categories.

The “Team 19” Best Warrior Competition winners of 2018 are:

KATUSA Category: Cpl. Sang Chang Lee, a human resource specialist with the 557th Military Police Company, 94th Military Police Battalion, Republic of Korea Army Staff Office, and a native of Changwon, Korea.

Junior Enlisted Category: Pfc. Michael Jagelski, a military policeman with the 55th Military Police Company, 94th Military Police Battalion, and a native of Goldendale, Washington.

Noncommissioned Officer Category: Sgt. William Stallworth, a light wheeled vehicle mechanic with the 176th Financial Management Support Unit, 498th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, and a native of Rialto, California.

Officer Category: 1st Lt. Austin Kong, a quartermaster officer with the 339th Quartermaster Company, 498th Combat Support Sustainment Battalion, and a native of Allen, Texas.

“I am very proud of all our competitors,” said Command Sergeant Maj. Maurice V. Chaplin, the senior enlisted advisor of the 19th ESC and native of Jacksonville, Florida. “It’s competitions like this that really showcase the stamina and combat readiness of our Soldiers and the strength of our alliance. Our KATUSA competitors brought their strength and resolve competing alongside their U.S. counterparts in the spirit of “We Go Together” while participating in this competition.”

The winners of the competition were overwhelmed with excitement and for the opportunity to move on to the next level of Best Warrior Competition.

“I am very excited and very blessed to have won this, “said Kong. “I do understand that with the end to one competition, that makes way to the start of another and I’m looking forward to the next challenge.”

For one Soldier, winning the “Team 19” Best Warrior Competition means much more than just moving on to the next level.

“If I was assigned to a ROK army unit, I would have never been able to participate in the 19th ESC Best Warrior Competition,” said Lee. “Since I participated, I tried my very best and the result of my victory is just awesome. It is a great honor to represent my fellow KATUSAs of the 19th ESC. Words cannot express how happy I am right now.”

With combat readiness and the strength of the ROK-U.S. alliance among top priorities in the Korean theater of operations, all of the competitors provided the example of a total soldier and have set themselves apart from their peers. The Best Warriors will now have a chance to compete for the title of Eighth United States Army Best Warrior, and possibly move on to subsequent competitions leading up to the United States Army Best Warrior Competition.

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