Local soldier tackles Army's Best Warrior Competition
Originally Published: October 24, 2010 9:58 p.m.
UPDATE, 2:24 p.m.: Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher won the U.S. Army's Best Warrior Competition and was named Army Soldier of the Year on Monday at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. Check back to dCourier.com for more information as it becomes available.Here's a link to a YouTube video featuring Gallagher talking about the Night Urban Orienteering course at the Best Warrior Competition: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R1dD2wJ8xqQ.U.S. Army Sgt. Sherri Jo Gallagher of the Marksmanship Unit, a 2002 graduate of Prescott Christian High School, competed over the weekend in the 2010 Best Warrior Competition this week in Fort Lee, Va.The Best Warrior Competition, which is in its ninth year, is described as the Super Bowl of Army competitions to determine the Army's soldier and non-commissioned officer of the year."It's very inspiring to be here," said Gallagher, who has been in the service for two years and is a marksmanship instructor.Gallagher, 26, grew up in Prescott and said her mother, Nancy Tompkins, stepfather Middleton Tompkins, and her sister still live here."I love Prescott, and I miss it," said Gallagher.Gallagher, who started shooting when she was 5 years old and began competing when she was 7, recently competed in the National Rifle Association and Civilian Marksmanship Program's National Rifle Matches at Camp Perry in Ohio and finished in the top three.Gallagher was named the high female shooter in nearly every match she entered, including being named the National Champion in the NRA National High Power Championships.During the Best Warrior Competition, 24 soldiers test their Army aptitude, conquer urban warfare simulations, board interviews, perform physical fitness tests, take written exams, perform tasks and battle drills relevant to today's operating environment. Competitors also go before two selection boards who evaluate their appearance, military bearing and knowledge of critical Army topics, according to the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition 2010 website."I'm really excited to do all of it," Gallagher said. "I've had some awesome trainers who have been helping me prepare for the past seven months."The 24 soldiers are selected to compete after mastering a series of benchmarks throughout the year including qualifying for the Army-wide, Best Warrior Competition.Gallagher said to enter the Best Warrior Competition her Sergeant Major nominated her and she competed in soldier of the week, then soldier of the month, then soldier of the quarter, and then entered her in the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command competition."I'm excited to do the combat. It's a good challenge," Gallagher said. "I'm not nervous about any of the tasks."Gallagher said she wasn't in an ROTC program in high school, but felt strongly about joining the Army so she did after graduating from the Bel Rea Institute of Veterinary Technology in Denver in 2008."Joining the Army, is something I feel everyone should do to serve our country," Gallagher said.The Soldier and Noncommissioned Officer of the Year will be announced Monday during the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting in Washington D.C., will receive honors and cash awards in recognition of their achievements, and will represent the Army at special events throughout 2010 and 2011.