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SDSU sophomore named S.D. Army National Guard Soldier of the Year

BROOKINGS, SD (KELO-AM) Specialist Dalton DeBoer was named the South Dakota Army National Guard Soldier of the Year following the state's Best Warrior Competition Sept. 19-22 at Camp Rapid. DeBoer, a sophomore majoring in construction management at South Dakota State University, won the enlisted category and will now compete in a regional competition May 18-22, 2014, in Rapid City.The state's four-day event consisted of a series of 12 events including a written exam, essay writing, battle drills, M-16 rifle marksmanship, land navigation, an obstacle course, a 6-mile road march while carrying a 40-pound pack, and a physical fitness test."I thought the toughest part was going to be the boards, going in front of the sergeant majors and answering their questions. After doing it, it was the hardest part. It was the most stressful," said DeBoer, who is from Clear Lake. "They gave us a big study guide but there was a lot to study."


DeBoer had been preparing for the physical part of the test since the summer. In addition to training with the SDSU ROTC unit, he worked out with Staff Sgt. Sam Schaefers, who won the noncommissioned officer category.Following the interview session with the sergeant majors, it was time to get to the physically demanding sections."I was ready to get outside and start doing the more physical competitions and shooting," he said. "The land nav(igation) was kind of frustrating. It was a tough course. We were given five points and needed to find a post they put in the trees. We had two hours to find it."As the competition was wrapping up, DeBoer felt good about his chances to win."I knew I had a chance to win. I felt I had done pretty well up to that point but I knew there were others right up there with me, who had done well in all of the events," he said. "I knew the NCO from my unit won so I had to win, too."DeBoer is a member of the Watertown-based Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1-147th Field Artillery Battalion."I've always been interested in the military. I wanted to go active duty and was told I should go to college first so I joined the National Guard while in college. I'm glad I did it," said DeBoer about his decision to join the S.D. National Guard.And now he gets to say he is one of the nation's best.