Story by: Sgt. Suzanne Carter

Posted: Feb 7, 2015

Sgt. Suzanne Carter Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley, the Army National Guard command sergeant major, talks with the range control officer at the M203 Range at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas, during the 2015 Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition Feb. 7, 2015. Conley visited the competition to offer encouragement to competitors who each diligently trained during their off-duty days to prepare for the challenges they would face. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Suzanne Carter)
Sgt. Suzanne Carter
Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley, the Army National Guard command sergeant major, talks with the range control officer at the M203 Range at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas, during the 2015 Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition Feb. 7, 2015. Conley visited the competition to offer encouragement to competitors who each diligently trained during their off-duty days to prepare for the challenges they would face. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Sgt. Suzanne Carter)

BASTROP, Texas --The grey sky and brisk wind did not keep leaders from supporting their troops during the final day of the Texas Military Forces Best Warrior Competition 2015 at Camp Swift.

One leader in particular traveled halfway across the country to cheer on the Soldiers and Airmen contending to reach the top.
"I'm really pleased that the leadership of the Texas National Guard has allowed me the opportunity to come out here and see these great men and women compete," said Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley, the command sergeant major of the Army National Guard. "I couldn't say yes fast enough because every day out of [Washington] D.C. is a great day." 

Conley said that Texas has a unique strategy for selecting the Best Warrior by including Air Guardsmen in a traditionally Army National Guard only event.

"You're one of the only states that I know of that has a joint competition with both Soldiers and Airmen competing with and against each other," he said. "This brings the National Guard together… We learn about our Soldiers and Airmen, what they do. It breaks down barriers." 

Events like this joint Best Warrior Competition showcase the readiness of Texas' top Guardsmen and women, reflecting the long history of the National Guard as the "force of choice in homeland defense," Conley said.

"Since 9/11, we have become more operational than we've ever been in our history," he said. "We want to make sure that the investment that our nation and our states have placed in our [service members] is maintained."

Conley said that he spends as much time as he can drilling with and visiting units across the country in order to get the best sense of what the Soldiers and their noncommissioned officers need to continue to be the "best led, best trained, and best equipped National Guard in our history."