Gladeville native Staff Sgt. Dustin Rottero was recently recognized as the Region III "Best Warrior" during a ceremony at the Wendell H. Ford Regional Training center in Greenville, Ky.
A member of Tennessee's Recruiting and Retention Battalion (RRB), Rottero edged out fellow competitors to earn the prestigious title and secured a spot at Camp Ripley, Minn., where the Army National Guard will hold the national competition in July.
"From the beginning, Staff Sgt. Rottero set the standard, always showing a level of professionalism and discipline unmatched by others," said Command Sgt. Maj. Heath Young, the Command Sergeant Major for the RRB of the Tennessee Army National Guard. "It wasn't easy, but he never quit and always gave maximum effort."
Currently, Rottero is one of only a handful of Tennessee Guardsmen trained as a drill sergeant, a highly demanding assignment charged with training the Army's newest soldiers. Due to his professionalism and performance while attending the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant Academy, he earned the Leadership Award.
To aid in handling the pressures of each task, every soldier is assigned a sponsor. Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Bryant, also a drill sergeant with the RRB, supported Rottero by coaching, training and sometimes providing a much needed morale boost.
"Through the long days and nights, he was never distracted," added Young. "He remained focused at every turn. It was touch, and we had some competition, but in the end Tennessee prevailed."
The Best Warrior Competition recognizes soldiers who demonstrate commitment to the Army values, embody the warrior ethos and represent the force of the future. Over the course of four days, it is designed to test aptitude during urban warfare simulations, board interview skills, physical fitness levels and warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today's operating environment.
Each year, soldiers across the U.S. Army, Army National Guard and Army Reserve compete locally, statewide for the National Guard and regionally to determine which individual will represent their respective command at the culminating event in late September.