Arkansan Wins Army National Guard’s “Soldier of the Year” for Third Straight Year

Ryan L Montgomery Arkansas National GuardArkansas National Guardsman Spc. Ryan L. Montgomery earned the national title Wednesday of the Army National Guard’s “Soldier of the Year”, after a grueling three-day competition held at Camp Robinson.

This marks the third year in a row an Arkansan has won the competition.

The Hensley native competed against the best of nearly 350,000 Army National Guardsmen nationwide. The physical and mental stamina of the competitors was tested through sleep deprivation and in multiple events including marksmanship, land navigation, physical fitness and combat scenarios.

“We couldn’t be prouder,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Steven C. Veazey, Command Sergeant Major for the Arkansas Army National Guard, “After three years in a row, this highlights the quality of Citizen-Soldier we have right here in Arkansas; we have the best of the best.”

Montgomery, an infantryman from Company D, 2nd Battalion, 153rd Infantry Regiment, 39th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, will now move on to represent the Army National Guard in the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition, to be held at Fort Lee, Virginia in October. The Army Best Warrior Competition will bring together Soldiers that represent over 1 million members of the U.S. Army worldwide.

“While I am thankful, I am humbled by this victory,” said Montgomery, “I have some big shoes to fill of those who have earned this title before me. They definitely prove what it means to not only be a Soldier, but an Arkansan.”

The Arkansas National Guard has set a mark that no other state has obtained by having a Soldier take top honors for the third straight year.

In 2012 Ozark native Sgt. Matthew S. Howard earned the “Non-Commissioned Officer
of the Year” title during the Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition held at Fort Benning, Georgia. In 2013 Sherwood native Sgt. Piero J. Lopez earned the “Soldier of the Year” title during the Army National Guard Best Warrior Competition held at Camp Robinson.