UAFS Student Wins Title of Arkansas National Guard’s ‘Best Warrior’

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FORT SMITH (KFSM)-- A local college student won the title of “Best Warrior” in one of the toughest National Guard competitions.

Ben Mitchell is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, but for the last few months he's been studying for a different kind of test, the Arkansas National Guard Best Warrior Competition in Little Rock.

“It was a great opportunity,” Mitchell said. “I got to compete with the top soldiers from brigades across the state.”

The competition lasted three days and challenged the competitors in areas of physical and mental strength.

“We had a stress fire with multiple weapon systems and simulated environments of just adding stress upon us,” Mitchell said. “Then we had a 13.1 mile ruck march with about 35 pounds on our backs, and that was just the first day.”

The final day consisted of a written test and essay, and in the end Mitchell came out on top.

His leaders in the ROTC program said there's no one who deserves it more.

“In ROTC, we look for that scholar, athlete, leader, and he kind of embodies all of that,” Captain Matt Liebal, said.

Liebal said he's proud to have seen Mitchell grow throughout the training process.

“He lives and breathes the army values, so I wish I had 15 or 20 more of him,” Liebal said. “He makes life easy.”

Congressman Steve Womack even came to campus to congratulate Mitchell. He presented him with a challenge coin.

“It's an honor to be recognized by a congressman from my state, and it's even more of a challenge that I know I just have to keep bettering myself and ultimately leave nothing on the field,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell will compete in the regional competition in Kansas in May.