Montana Guardsman honored for success in "Best Warrior" competition

Posted at 8:51 PM, Oct 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-06 10:28:29-04

HELENA — A Montana National Guardsman was recognized Monday for his performance as one of the Guard’s “Best Warriors.”

Sgt. Donald Swan received a Meritorious Service Medal in a ceremony at Fort Harrison. It marked his achievements in the U.S. Army’s annual Best Warrior competition.

The competition tests soldiers on their physical fitness, firearm proficiency, navigation and other skills.

Swan won last year’s Montana state competition for non-commissioned officers. He went on to win a regional competition earlier this year. Last month, he traveled to Camp Shelby, Mississippi, to take part in a three-day competition against six other regional winners.

While Swan didn’t finish at the top in the national competition, he did well in several of the individual events – finishing first on the Army Combat Fitness Test, second in the “ruck march” and third in land navigation.

“I felt like I did very well,” he said. “I left nothing on the table.”

Swan said, after returning from Iraq in 2018, he drove through the gates at Fort Harrison, saw the name of the “NCO of the Year” printed there, and told his wife his goal was to have his own name there. Now that goal has been accomplished.

Swan said it has been an honor to represent the Montana National Guard.

“Being able to hone those skills, refine them and take those skills to a national level, and know that the skills that you’re applying are going up against the six higher-tiered individuals in the nation, it speaks louder than words,” he said.

Swan said he couldn’t have accomplished what he has without the support of his wife, who is also a member of the Guard.