Specialist in Hawaii is Cyber Command’s top Soldier

| August 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

Spc. Johnny Long of Mesquite, Texas, assigned to Detachment Hawaii, 782nd Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion, 780th MI Brigade, evacuates a simulated casualty during the “mystery event” challenge on day three of the U.S. Army Cyber Command Best Warrior Competition, August 23. The competition to name Army Cyber’s top Soldier and noncommissioned officer of the year includes a series of physical and mental challenges, with the winners named Aug. 25. (Photo by Steve Stover)

Story and photos by
Steve Stover
U.S. Army Cyber Command

FORT BELVOIR, Virginia — U.S. Army Cyber Command named its best warriors of 2017, here, Aug. 25, after a week of intense competition.

Spc. Johnny Long of Mesquite, Texas, assigned to Detachment Hawaii, 782nd Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion, 780th MI Brigade, Intelligence & Security Command (INSCOM), earned Best Warrior Soldier of the Year honors and Sgt. Kevin Beuse of Colorado Springs, Colorado, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 470th MI Brigade, INSCOM, was named Best Warrior NCO of the Year.

Soldiers from multiple commands started on the road to the ARCYBER title in early spring. It has been a grueling climb to the top with each Soldier tackling at least four other Best Warrior competitions to reach the ARCYBER level.

And there’s still one more rung to go for Long and Beuse – representing ARCYBER at the Army-level competition in October.

Organizers of the ARCYBER event said the level of competition has never been higher, nor the physical and mental events more challenging. The Army’s Soldier and NCO of the Year selection process became tougher following 9/11, when the Sergeant Major of the Army changed the process to more realistically prove the “Total Soldier” concept.

•Long has a bachelor’s degree in physics and joined the Army in 2013 after teaching high school because he wanted to serve. He is a Korean linguist who aspires to join an SOT-A (Special Operations Team-Alpha), which is a signals intelligence-electronic warfare element of Army Special Forces.

For Long, the BWC has been a series of opportunities, and he’s had a lot of fun.

“I know that parts of it have been rougher than I expected, parts that were more fun than I expected. You never know exactly what to expect at each level,” he said. “But there have also been a lot of opportunities for experiences that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.”

Command Sgt. Maj. William Bruns, the U.S. Army Cyber Command (ARCYBER) command sergeant major (left), congratulates Spc. Johnny Long of Mesquite, Texas, assigned to Detachment Hawaii, 782nd Military Intelligence (MI) Battalion, 780th MI Brigade, for earning the title of 2017 ARCYBER Best Warrior Soldier of the Year, at an award ceremony in the commandÕs headquarters at Fort Belvoir, Va., Aug. 25. Long will represent ARCYBER at the Army-level BWC in October. (Photo by Steve Stover)

Long said those opportunities included hands-on experience with weapons that he hadn’t handled since basic training, learning Army doctrine, and “definitely a lot of combat lifesaver practice.” He’s most looking forward to facing a selection board led by the Sergeant Major of the Army when he competes in the October event.

•Beuse credits his mentor, Sgt. Stephen Pritchard, for getting him to this point in the competition. He also gave equal credit to his wife, who lives in Honduras, and who he says has always believed in him and knew he would win.

Alongside his preparation for the competition, which began in February, Beuse has been working to bring his wife to the U.S.

He has a tough choice to make about the Army competition, too.

“I also have a decision to make between SLC (Army Senior Leader Course) and the DA (Department of the Army) competition, so there’s a lot of things going on in my head. However, representing my command and going to the DA level is a once- in-the-lifetime opportunity.”

At the ceremony naming the winners, Command Sgt. Maj. William Bruns, the ARCYBER command sergeant major, said he’s very impressed with the caliber and character of this year’s competitors.

“I think back to when I competed in boards. We were very knowledgeable … but the knowledge of the Soldiers today is high … the bar is very high. The future of the NCO Corps is in good hands,” said Bruns.
“These Soldiers are really, really exceptional. I think we’re going to do really well (at the next level of competition).”

U.S. Army Cyber Command directs and conducts integrated electronic warfare, information and cyberspace operations as authorized, or directed, to ensure freedom of action in and through cyberspace and the information environment, and to deny the same to our adversaries.

If you’re interested in becoming an Army cyber Soldier or civilian employee, check out the career links at www.arcyber.army.mil.

See more photos of the competition at www.flickr.com/photos/army-cyber.

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Category: News

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