CAMP EDWARDS, Mass. — Sgt. Calvin Koziol of Nebraska, and Staff Sgt. Dirk Omerzo, of Pennsylvania, were the winners of a National Guard Best Warrior competition held at Joint Base Cape Cod last week.
Koziol established some “firsts” for Nebraska this year. He is the first Nebraskan to win either a regional or national Best Warrior competition.
Calvin joined the Army National Guard in October of 2012 before graduating in 2013 from Boone Central High School. He went to basic training immediately after graduation, and then to Airborne training.
The son of John and Rhonda Koziol, rural Albion, then returned to the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where he will be a junior next year.
Koziol is an infantryman and parachutist with Charlie Company, 1-134 Long Range Surveillance in Beatrice. He earned his sergeant’s stripes earlier this spring and has 10 parachute jumps to his credit.
He was encouraged by his team leader to compete in the Best Warrior contest. He won the nebraska state contest, then a regional contest and finally the national contest for National Guardsmen.
He will now go on to compete in the U.S. Army Best Warrior competition in September.
At the recent national event, contestants competed in the Army physical fitness test, weapons tests with the M4 rifle and M9 pistol, a stress shoot, obstacle course, day and night land navigation, a 14-mile ruck sack march from Lexington to Concord, Mass., warrior tasks and drills, IED assessment, Military Board appearance, essay, written exam, and First Aid/combat casualty care.
Physical tests included a two-mile run and a five-mile run. They had to assemble and disassemble weapons, and answer questions put to them by the Military Board.
The grueling competition for seven regional winners was held over three days.
Calvin said he has maintained his physical fitness since high school, where he ran cross country and track, and played American Legion baseball in the summers. “That definitely helped me in the competitions,” he said.