Under the searing sun, soldiers on Fort Carson geared up for battle.

It wasn’t one against a common enemy; instead they battled each other.

Eight soldiers from four regions competed for the ultimate bragging rights in the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command Best Warrior competition. Although this is just one round in the overall competition, soldiers put forth their best effort to advance on.

“The goal for the competition is always to win and move on to the next one. We’ll see if I can make that happen,” said competitor Spc. Tanner Anderson, who is stationed in Germany.

The weeklong contest put troops through a gauntlet ranging from physical challenges, like shooting precision tests and a 12-mile march, to mental challenges like a written essay.

“They ask some interesting questions on the essays,” said Sgt. Chayse Burns, a competitor stationed at Fort Carson. “We have to formulate our own opinions as well as two written tests, so it’s an intellectual competition as well as a physical one.”

Day two of the competition began on the weapons range as competitors shot M4 rifles to test their shooting precision, trying to get each of 18 rounds into a 2-inch radius.

They had to shoot the gun from several positions, each getting more difficult. The soldiers also fired pistols at moving targets.

“I’ve been training for this competition pretty much since I’ve heard about it about a year and a half ago when I got into my first unit,” said Anderson.

The competition also included a simulation of house-to-house fighting with a shoot house, where targets pop up from unlikely locations. Competitors had to go through as quickly as possible with minimal errors. That was followed by old-fashioned hand-to-hand drills.

Competitors said that was one of the easier days of the contest.

“Really Wednesday, Thursday will be the most difficult days.” He went on to say, “They are really really early days. We’re waking up at like 1 or 2 in the morning and then Friday’s just closing it out with the board.”

Boards is considered the toughest high-pressure point of the contest. Soldiers have to stand in front of a panel of judges and show off their military knowledge.

Up through the last task, competitors don’t know where they stand, because organizers “want them to give their best at every event,” said spokeswoman, Carrie David Campbell.

Those who win at Fort Carson could move on to a larger Army wide contest.

“My goal is first place and move on to the next round,” said Burns. “I’m pretty sure that’s everyone’s goal and we’re all fighting it out.”

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