116th IBCT Soldier, NCO earn top honors at Va. Guard Best Warrior competition

Spc. Adam Sotelo (far left), the 2014 Virginia National Guard Soldier of the Year and Sgt. John Fracker (far right) the 2014 Virginia Army National Guard Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, stand with Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, the Virginia Army National Guard State Command Sergeant Major, March 29, 2015, at Fort Pickett, Va. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

Spc. Adam Sotelo (far left), the 2014 Virginia National Guard Soldier of the Year and Sgt. John Fracker (far right) the 2014 Virginia Army National Guard Noncommissioned Officer of the Year, stand with Command Sgt. Maj. Carl Holcomb, the Virginia Army National Guard State Command Sergeant Major, March 29, 2015, at Fort Pickett, Va. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Terra C. Gatti, Virginia Guard Public Affairs)

FORT PICKETT, Va. — Spc. Adam Sotelo was named the 2014 Virginia National Guard Soldier of the Year, and Sgt. John Fracker was named Noncommissioned Officer of the Year March 29, 2015, at Fort Pickett, Va. Sotelo, an Arlington resident assigned to Headquarters Company, 3rd Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and Fracker, who resides in Boones Mill and is assigned to Company C, 1st Battalion, 116th Infantry Regiment, 116th IBCT, earned the honors after competing in the two-day Best Warrior Competition at Fort Pickett.

Eighteen Soldiers and noncommissioned officers representing the Virginia Army Guard’s major subordinate commands were evaluated on the Army Physical Fitness Test, marksmanship, land navigation, various Army Warrior Tasks and an appearance board. The Warrior Tasks included evaluating a casualty, administering first aid, reporting intelligence information, communicating via a tactical radio, detecting chemical agents, decontaminating using a decontamination kit and reacting to a nuclear hazard attack.

“It pushed me to do more than an average Soldier would do on his off time,” said Sotelo. “I had to study a lot, had to keep my PT stuff up and had to study the Army Warrior Tasks.”

“This helped me build myself up better for training my Soldiers,” said Fracker.

“Thank you for the extra effort and thank you for what you’re doing for the Virginia Guard,” Command Sgt. Maj. Allen Ferris, the Virginia National Guard Senior Enlisted Advisor, said to the assembled competitors after the winners were announced. “I want you to look around at each other, real quick, and you’re going to see the best we have in Virginia. So everyone of you needs to be proud and know that you are the best that the Virginia Guard has to offer. It’s this whole crew – you’re the best we’ve got. You’re the next leaders of the Virginia Guard and you need to strive to move forward and take our positions, whether it’s as a senior NCO or as an officer, and take charge of the Virginia Guard and help take it to the next level.”

Sotelo and Fracker will now represent Virginia versus National Guard Soldiers from six other states at the regional competition May 28-31, 2015, at Fort Pickett.

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Photos: Va. Guard Soldier, NCO of the year announced at Fort Pickett
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Photos: Va. Guard troops compete for title as Virginia’s top Soldiers, NCOs
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