HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A Hawaii Army National Guardsman now holds a coveted title, Best Warrior in the Country.
Specialist Cruser Barnes beat out hundreds of other guardsmen in a total of five competitions to win the title.
"When you consider there are about 350,000 Army National Guard soldiers in the United States and he's the best one, that means something," says Lt. Col. Charles Anthony.
The 22-year old had to dominate physically while staying mentally focused. Each competition lasts several days as soldiers do physical tests, like the Range Run, where they run several miles shooting targets along the way. They also compete in long runs carrying 35 pounds of gear and do obstacle courses. But it's not just a test in strength, they have written assignments, interviews and have to do navigation drills too.
That's why Barnes is being called the 'complete' soldier.
"Nobody has ever taken it this far before," says Anthony.
"It started last year," says Barnes, "I competed in the same thing but at (the State competition) I broke my arm." Barnes healed in time for this year's competitions. The most recent event was held in Utah.
He will now head to Virginia for the international competition.
Quite an accomplishment since he is a student at the University of Hawaii and holds a part-time, regular job. He'll have to put both on hold while preparing for the October event against full-time Army soldiers from around the world.
"In the National Guard, I feel we don't get as much recognition as we should. The active duty guys don't think we can really hang with them as well, so to get there and show them up would be cool," says Barnes.