Spc. Keegan Carlson (left) and Staff Sgt. Landon Nordby (Army)
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Spc. Keegan Carlson and Staff Sgt. Landon Nordby marched, navigated and shot their way to top honors in the Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition, the Reserve has announced.
Carlson earned the title of the 2014 Army Reserve Soldier of the Year. He is a civil affairs specialist from Colorado Springs, Colorado, and serves with the 440th Civil Affairs Battalion.
Nordby, a military policeman from St. James, Minnesota, with the 79th Military Police Company, is the 2014 Army Reserve Noncommissioned Officer of the Year.
To win, they had to push themselves past their competitors in an 8-mile ruck march, weapons quals, land navigation, a combatives tournament, the Army Physical Fitness Test and other events, according to a release from the Army Reserve.
The runners up were Spc. Keith Lewis and Sgt. Lance Clifford, according to the release.
Forty-two soldiers from 22 major commands tackled the competition over several days in late June at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.
To get there, they competed in their commands’ Best Warrior Competitions earlier this year.
Nordby is a Ranger who says his favorite comic book character is Snake Eyes from G.I. Joe, according to an Army Reserve release. He is security supervisor for a housing complex in Minneapolis who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and he was selected to serve on the protective service detail for then commanding Gen. David Petraeus in Afghanistan, according to the release.
To prepare for the competition, Carlson trained for several months by strapping on a 75-pound ruck and scaling the brutal Manitou Incline in Colorado Springs, which gets increasingly steep past the runners’ “wimp-out point” on the way to the top, according to a Reserve release about him.
“He doesn't accept defeat or loss,” said his father, retired Air Force Master Sgt. Ryan Carlson, quoted in the release. “He simply refuses to lose. He will never quit.”
Carlson’s next challenges: a degree, he says, and then applying to West Point.