New York Army National Guard top Soldier and Non-Commissioned Officer picked

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Staff Sgt. Christian Hager, New York Army National Guard, Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year, participating in a stress shoot during the Best Warrior Competition at Camp Smith Training Site.

LATHAM, NY (03/30/2015)(readMedia)-- A New York Army National Guard Specialist from Glens Falls was selected as the New York National Guard's top enlisted Soldier, and a Staff Sergeant from Batavia was named top non-commissioned officer, following a four-day competition at Camp Smith Training Site near Peekskill which ended Sunday, March 29.

Specialist Michael Rowland, a personnel specialist assigned to the 501st Explosives Ordnance Disposal Battalion based in Glenville, was recognized as the best junior enlisted Soldier. He has served in the Army National Guard since July 2013.

Staff Sgt. Christian Hager, an infantry squad leader assigned to Company A, 2nd Battalion 108th Infantry, based in Geneseo, was selected as the top non-commissioned officer. Hager has served in the Army National Guard since 2008.

The New York Army National Guard has strength of approximately 10,400 Soldiers.

Twelve Soldiers-with six competing in each category-- took part in the competition which tested their physical fitness and military knowledge. Soldiers fired weapons, navigated with map and compass, demonstrated their ability to swim while in uniform, and participated in a grueling 6-mile forced march wearing full pack. Three women and nine men participated.

The two winners will compete in a northeast regional competition next month. The winners of that event compete against National Guard Soldiers from around the country. Eventually the best Soldiers from the Army National Guard, Army Reserve and Active Army face off in a military skills competition.

The competitors were selected through a series of competitions held at battalion and brigade level and represented all areas of the state and Army National Guard units.