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Two Schuylkill County National Guard Soldiers Competing for PA Best Warrior

This week, 14 soldiers with Pennsylvania National Guard will compete in the 2020 Pennsylvania Best Warrior Competition. And 2 of those soldiers are from right here in Schuylkill County.

Sgt. Darian Stripe, of Schuylkill Haven, and Spc. Christopher Cooper, of Port Carbon, start competition on Wednesday at Fort Indiantown Gap. They’ll be up for NCO and Soldier of the Year honors, respectively, as well as the CSM Jay H. Fields NCO Leadership Award.

“I’m pretty excited to be able to compete with the best in the state,” Cooper tells The Canary. “I’ve had to do plenty of physical fitness training in the gym for a good 6 months just for preparation.”

You can follow the competition through Saturday following the Twitter hashtag: #PABestWarrior. You don’t need a Twitter account to follow.

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2020 Pennsylvania National Guard Best Warrior Competition

Soldiers in the PA Best Warrior competition vie for the title in 10 events through the week. Some of those include:

  • Army Combat Fitness Test
  • Written exam
  • Weapons qualifications
  • Land navigation
  • Obstacle course
  • 8-mile road march
  • Mystery event

So, how does a soldier in the National Guard qualify for the PA Best Warrior competition? We asked our local representatives what they think got them here this week.

Cooper says, “Primarily my dedication to my work. I always want to do the best job that I can, especially when it comes to my service. I distinguished myself, and it carried me to the competition.”

Sgt. Darian Stripe – 2020 PA Best Warrior NCO of the Year Competition

darian stripe pa national guard

(Photo: PA National Guard)

Sgt. Darian Stripe, 22, Schuylkill Haven: Stripe is with the 337th Engineer Batallion, 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. Her job (MOS) with the Guard is 12T (Technical Land Surveyor).

Spc. Christopher Cooper – PA Best Warrior Soldier of the Year Competition

christopher cooper pa national guard

(Photo: PA National Guard)

Spc. Christopher Cooper, 23, Port Carbon: Cooper is with the 228th Engineer Company, 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade. His job with the Guard is 12N (Horizontal Construction Engineer).

Cooper is a 2014 graduate of Pottsville Area High School and graduated from Kutztown University in 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. He joined the PA National Guard in 2016. During the day, he tells us he works as a prevention educator and case manager with Clinical Outcomes Group in Pottsville.

We attempted to reach Sgt. Stripe to no avail.

Be sure to wish these outstanding local soldiers the best of luck this week in competition.

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