March 31, 2014
CONNNECTICUT ARMY NATIONAL GUARD NAMES
SOLDIER AND NCO OF THE YEAR FOR 2014
Spec. Stephanie Landry of Plymouth and Sgt. Johnny Peralta of Danbury
Take Top Honors after Four-Day Best Warrior Competition
(Hartford, CT) – Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, the adjutant general and commander of the Connecticut National Guard, today announced the selection of Spc. Stephanie Landry of Plymouth and Sgt. Johnny Peralta of Danbury as the Connecticut Army National Guard’s top soldier and non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the year for 2014 out of the organization’s 3,625 members.
Landry and Peralta were awarded the top honors in each of their respected categories after competing in a demanding four-day “best warrior competition” from March 27 to 30 conducted at military training facilities in East Haven, East Lyme, New London and Niantic. Landry and Peralta competed against a field of 17 soldiers and NCOs representing the very best warriors from all major Army National Guard commands in Connecticut.
Competitive events which were individually scored based on final placement, accuracy and completion time included a physical fitness test, water survival test, pistol and rifle marksmanship, 10k tactical road march, land navigation written exam, day and night land navigation field exercises and appearance boards to test the competitors military knowledge and communications skills.
Landry, 23, is a military police officer assigned to the 143rd Military Police Company in West Hartford with four years of military service. She works as a federal military technician with the Connecticut National Guard.
“It is an honor to win,” said Landry. “I wanted to do something to set me apart from my peers. If you get a chance to do this, then do it.”Peralta, 27, is a sniper infantryman assigned to Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 102nd Infantry in New Haven with six years of military service. This is his third consecutive year being named the best of the best in the Connecticut Army National Guard having been selected as soldier of the year in 2012 and NCO of the year in 2013. Peralta works as a corrections officer for the Connecticut Department of Corrections.
“I wasn’t sure I would win again, but it is an honor to be able to represent my unit,” said Peralta. “There is a lot of history in this unit. I wanted to do this for the guys in the unit. To be able to represent that lineage is an honor.” “The competitive spirit and professionalism that these soldiers bring to this competition each year is inspiring,” said Martin. “While maintaining jobs and families they devote countless hours to refine their skills and develop their physical stamina. Spc. Landry and Sgt. Peralta represent the best of our Army National Guard citizen-soldiers.”
Landry and Peralta will now go on to compete in the northeast regional best warrior competition from May 13 to 15 at Camp Ethan Allen, Jericho, Vt. They will compete against the top soldiers and NCOs from the states of New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine.
The best warrior competition is a voluntary, competitive event held across the Army National Guard in all states to challenge and hone the military skills of individual soldiers and NCOs. Based on the results of the competition, the soldier and NCO of the year for each state are selected and move on to further competition at the Army National Guard regional, national and Department of the Army levels.