HomeNewsArticle Display

Lone Star Airmen takes on Army's regional Best Warrior Competition

Airman runs in water

Senior Airman Christopher Gangeme, Texas Air National Guard, finishes the 400 meter swim portion of the Combat Water Survival Test assessment during the Region V Best Warrior Competition May 4, 2021, at Lake Bastrop Texas. The Texas Military Department is hosting this year's event for ARNG Region V, which is composed of Texas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Missouri National Guards. Each state sent their two best warriors to compete in combat readiness skills here for a shot to move on to the national level in Arizona later this year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Otte).

Competitors step off a lake dock into water

Competitors in the Region V Best Warrior Competition begin the Combat Water Survival Test by stepping off the dock before completing a 400-meter swim May 4, 2021, at Lake Bastrop, Texas. The Texas Military Department hosted this year's event for ARNG Region V, that included Texas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Missouri National Guards. Each state sent their two best warriors to compete in combat readiness skills for a shot to move on to the national level in Arizona later this year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Otte).

Soldier runs in water

Staff Sgt. Carson Kuehl, Nebraska National Guard, runs ashore after the 400 meter swim portion of the Combat Water Survival Test assessment during the Region V Best Warrior Competition May 4, 2021, at Lake Bastrop Texas. The Texas Military Department is hosting this year's event for ARNG Region V, which is composed of Texas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Missouri National Guards. Each state sent their two best warriors to compete in combat readiness skills here for a shot to move on to the national level in Arizona later this year. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Staff Sgt. Mark Otte)

BASTROP, Texas --

The Texas Military Department hosted this year’s Army National Guard Region V Best Warrior Competition at Camp Swift near Bastrop, Texas, May 3-7, 2021. Fourteen competitors from Texas, Nebraska, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Louisiana and Missouri National Guards competed in events meant to test their combat readiness skills.

Traditionally, two Army National Guard Soldiers from each state compete in the annual event, but this year one lone Texas Air National Guardsman from 136th Security Forces Squadron in Fort Worth, stood amongst the competitors - Senior Airman Christopher Gangeme.

“Having the opportunity to take part in this competition is a very significant experience and it is important to have Air Guard representation next to the Army,” Gangeme said. “We often serve together, so this is a good opportunity for us to come together and build camaraderie with a little friendly competition.”

Over the past year Gangeme and his fellow Airmen at the 136th Security Forces Squadron mobilized in support of the Texas Military Department’s COVID-19 response and other stateside responses.

“Senior Airman Gangeme recently got back from deployment,” said Lt. Col. Steven Taylor, 136th Security Forces Squadron Commander. “Being the competitor he is, he requested to come off his reconstitution time to go back on orders to compete. He's committed to it and I think he's a great representation of the 136th Security Forces Squadron and the 136th Airlift Wing.”

While others in his situation might feel out of place, Gangeme quickly rose to the challenge of working alongside and competing with some of the Army’s best warriors.

Joint competitions like these provide opportunities for service members from the different components within the Texas Military Department to learn from each other and be better prepared to work together when called upon for a natural disaster or a deployment overseas.

“Whenever we are competing, we work together and learn things like the different rank structures and terminologies used in the other services.” said Gangeme. “This helps us speak each other’s language and be better prepared for any challenges we may face together in the future.”

Regardless of how he fares at this regional competition, Gangeme will not move on to the next level, but he said he is still humbled and honored to have made here and represent the Texas Air National Guard.

“The competition at this level has been neck and neck, whoever wins here at Region V will be a great representative of the region and all we are capable of.”

The fact that he was able to make it this far and to be the only Air Force competitor at the regional level speaks volumes about his dedication, his commander said.

“He's worked hard to learn those skills to be able to compete and he's playing the Army's game as an Airman,” Taylor added.

The Army winners of the Region V Best Warrior Competition, one non-commissioned officer and one junior enlisted will move on to compete at the national competition in Arizona, July 19-23.