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Utahn takes home 2022 National Guard Soldier of the Year


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CAMP WILLIAMS — Hours of hard work and dedication has paid off for one Utahn.

Fourteen of the nation's best National Guard junior enlisted soldiers and noncommissioned officers took a trip to Tennessee to compete in an intense six-day competition called "The National Guard Best Warrior Competition."

Of those 14, Sgt. Spencer Fayles with the Utah National Guard's 144th Area Support Medical Company took home the title of the 2022 National Guard Soldier of the Year.

"Born and raised in West Valley City, Utah," Fayles said.

The national competition tested competitors mentally and physically through land navigation, rigorous obstacle courses, communication building, and multiple physical tests.

"You're swimming in this full uniform: Boots, socks, swimming with rifles, retrieving gear from a 13-foot pool," Fayles said.

You can imagine the amount of training, not only to compete but also to take home the national title.

"It feels incredible. It's humbling. I'm not the first, and I won't be the last," Fayles said.

Fayles said he trained a minimum of 20 hours a week over six days a week, including two hours per day dedicated to exercise.

Thankful for the state who believes in him, Fayles said he would absolutely do it again.

"Utah is the whole reason I was there — and I wouldn't have been there, wouldn't have had my success if it wasn't for Utah. I was just a small part of a team and it was a team effort to get there," he said.

The 2022 National Guard Noncommissioned Officer of the Year is from Wyoming. That means two Western states took home winning titles.

From here, they will now represent the National Guard's 330,000 soldiers from the nation's 54 states and territories at the Army Best Warrior competition this fall.

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Karah Brackin

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