Combat engineer emerges as Nevada Army Guard’s Noncommissioned Officer of the YearRENO – 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.”