21st TSC Soldier wins Best Warrior Competition

by Staff Sgt. Michael J. Taylor
21st TSC Public Affairs

HEIDELBERG, Germany — A 21st Theater Sustainment Command Soldier earned the title of U.S. Army Europe’s Best Warrior Soldier and will next compete at the Army level competition later this year.

Pfc. Richard B. Shepard, an intelligence analyst with the 21st TSC and a San Diego native, distinguished himself from his peers competing against 16 other  noncommissioned officers and Soldiers at the USAREUR Best Warrior Competition hosted at the Grafenwöhr Training Area, July 30 through Aug. 3.

Shepard endured a grueling four days filled with ruck marches, land navigation, tactical and technical scenarios, military boards, physical fitness challenges, mental fitness challenges and combatives competition.   

In order to compete at the USAREUR event, Shepard excelled at a multitude of boards and competitions that spanned over the course of a year and a half.

He started by competing in the 21st Special Troops Battalion’s Soldier of the Month Competition, moved on to the 21st STB’s Best Warrior Competition and then to the 21st TSC’s best warrior competition, ultimately landing him in the position to
represent his unit and USAREUR at the highest level.

“I am surprised of the outcome, but I am glad to have had this opportunity, because I have learned a lot along the way,” Shepard said. “To be Soldier of the year was not my initial plan, but I actively took an interest in the competitions from the very start.

“I stayed positive and optimistic throughout the entire time and just focused on one single event at a time instead of focusing on the entire competition as a whole,” he continued. “I just focused and put my attention on the single event that was at hand at that time and that way I was able to give it my full attention.”

But Shepard said it wasn’t only him that made it possible.

“My first line leader, and everyone I work with in my intelligence shop and everybody in the 21st TSC, played a combined effort in helping me to train,” he said.

Shepard’s first line supervisor said Shepard displayed a high level of motivation and drive, coming straight out of basic training and advanced individual training.

“Initially, I knew he was a winner and wanted to rise above his peers and do better,” said Staff Sgt. Travis Andrews, an intelligence analyst with the 21st TSC and Shepard’s first line supervisor.

Shepard’s next challenge will be the Army level best warrior competition, which will be held at Fort Lee, Va., in October.