Hello, I’m Sgt. Robert Keifer, and I’ve been asked to write about my work here in The Old Guard, and specifically about the Military District of Washington’s (MDW) Best Warrior Competition, which I competed in, and won, last week. I’m thankful for the opportunity to serve here in our nation’s capital, as I’ve been thankful to serve previously in the 10th Mountain Division both at Fort Drum, N.Y., and Fort Polk, La.
I currently have the privilege of being a squad leader in the Presidential Escort Platoon, Honor Guard Company, where we spend our time preparing for and marching in ceremonies such as wreath layings at the Tomb of the Unknowns, arrivals for foreign dignitaries at the Pentagon, funerals for our veterans, parades, and the Presidential Inauguration. The preparations that we do to achieve the standards required for The Old Guard (read: perfection) include ongoing hours of uniform preparation, physical fitness training (going for a run past the monuments or through Georgetown are a treat and never cease to inspire me), practicing marching and rifle manual, which is what we’re doing when you hear “Right shoulder – Arms!” and other commands.
Each year a Soldier and an NCO are sent from each company in the regiment to compete for the title of “Soldier/NCO of the Year” at the Regiment’s Best Warrior Competition. Spc. Michael Sands and I were this year’s winners (he as Soldier of the Year, I as NCO of the Year) at the 3-day competition that included events ranging from land navigation to an obstacle course and an interview board. This competition wasn’t easy, and my fellow NCOs were great competitors.
The next level of competition in our region was the Military District of Washington’s Best Warrior Competition. Spc. Sands and I are also the winners for the MDW competition (though again, my fellow NCOs were great competitors), and we will go on to compete in October at the All-Army Best Warrior Competition in Fort Lee, Va. I do not take the task of representing The Old Guard lightly, and will spend the next couple months training harder than ever to bring credit upon The Old Guard. I give thanks and credit to God as “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13)