Combat engineer emerges as Nevada Army Guard’s Noncommissioned Officer of the Year

NCO of the year Canepa TealRENO – A combat engineer from the Fallon-based 609th Engineer Company, Staff Sgt. Alec Canepa-Teal, 25, of Reno, captured the Nevada Army Guard title of the 2023 Noncommissioned Officer of the Year last week after he won the annual Best Warrior competition in Hawthorne, Nev.


A native of the Biggest Little City, Canepa-Teal has been in the Army for six years, including five on active duty.

In addition to serving with the 609th, Canepa-Teal attends Truckee Meadows Community College and is studying to become a Emergency Medical Technician. Canepa-Teal said he is committed to helping his hometown community through both military and civilian service.

This year’s Best Warrior contest included Soldiers from both Fiji and Tonga, two of Nevada’s three state partnership countries. Canepa- Teal said he enjoyed the challenge of being pushed to his limits by the international competitors while learning about new cultures. He said the Tongan and Fijian Soldiers were very humble and supportive and readily shared their knowledge with Nevada’s Soldiers. (The international Soldiers competed in an exhibition status and were not eligible for Nevada’s Best Warrior title.)

Canepa-Teal said this year’s Best Warrior contest was a memorable experience and he looks forward to representing the Nevada Army Guard later this spring in regional and, hopefully, national competitions, “I enjoyed the opportunity to represent the state I grew up in,” Canepa-Teal said. “I wanted to turn in a good performance do a good job representing my peers and my family. I wanted to make the international Soldiers earn their places in each respective event. “I truly believe competition brings out the best version of ourselves.”