June 12, 2005

Virginia Guardsman Wins Regional Competition

By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Hampton
GuardPost Staff Writer

BLACKSTONE, Va. - On an unusually cool spring morning, seven Army National Guard Soldiers arose and began their quest for the title of Soldier of the Year and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, Region 1. The event took place on Apr. 16and was hosted by Command Sgt. Major Robert Huffman, State Sgt. Major for Virginia, at Fort Pickett. When it was over, Virginia Guardsman Spc. Matthew Woyanski emerged as Soldier of the Year for Region 1.

Woyanski, who is the reigning State Soldier of the Year, competed against top soldiers from Maryland, North Carolina and South Carolina. Each Soldier competed in several categories including physical fitness, basic rifle marksmanship, land navigation and CTT. Sergeants major from the competing states were on hand to lend support and encouragement to all the participants.

The contest was highly competitive and challenged each Soldier to go the extra mile. Huffman was extremely pleased with the caliber of Soldier that was represented. “This was one of the most competitive groups we’ve seen in a while,” he said. “They really represented their states well and although there is only one winner, (at each level) there certainly weren’t any losers”

The two-day event culminated with a board to test the Soldier’s knowledge on military history, current events, leadership and weapon systems. Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Green, NCO of the Year for Virginia, congratulated his junior teammate and encouraged him to continue to excel. Although Green did not take Region 1 honors (NCO of the Year went to Maryland) he cherishes having had the opportunity to compete and represent Virginia. “This was truly a great event, one that I will always remember,” he said.  

Meanwhile, Woyanski is relishing the aspect of competing at the national level. “This is really a great honor but I know it just keeps getting tougher,” he said. Wyonski’s hometown is Colonial Heights, VA. He is a member of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 116th Infantry in Lexington VA.

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