Sgt. Ashley Schexnayder is APMC’s Best Warrior

April 09, 2020

Schexnayder garnered her place in history as not only the first Soldier to complete for Best Warrior from the APMC, but due to extenuating circumstance, she became the sole competitor in the Jan. 13-16 event, after another challenger was injured just prior to the competition. As the lone contender, all the attention of the evaluators was solely focused on her performance, which made the competition even more intense.
“I didn’t feel like I was alone. I still had supporting guidance throughout the whole experience. I was in an internal competition with myself. I would push myself to compete at a higher level than like I thought I would see in the next competition” said Schexnayder.

Despite the unusual circumstances, Schexnayder, an AGR Soldier, who hails from New Orleans, Louisiana demonstrated commendable enthusiasm and drive. She charged ahead as her unit Non Commissioned Officers put her through the paces of a board appearance, an individual interview, and a written exam. She wrote an essay on “Three qualities of good leadership”, demonstrated her map reading skills, and completed an Army Physical Fitness Test, warrior tasks and battle drills, and a medical training center event. The competition culminated with her three favorite events, weapons assembly, land navigation, and a road march.

The APMC Commander, Col. Todd Traver and Detachment Sergeant, Master Sgt. Itia Vincent-Hart recognized Sgt. Schexnayder for her outstanding achievement and performance during the training.

Vincent-Hart praised Schexnayder’s effort, “Sgt. Schexnayder is the best type of candidate for Best Warrior, because her competition is herself. A leader who always wants to make themselves better, is what we need more of in the Army. She is just an all-around Soldier type, be it technical or tactical. A pretty solid Soldier.”

Traver added, “All the NCOs, I am so proud of them for holding this first time completion at APMC. Not only did Sgt. Schexnayder get a benefit out of it, but it allowed all my NCOs to do their primary job, which is to train and prepare our Soldiers for their primary mission.”

In an additional twist of fate, the next level of competition, the 2020 Best Warrior competition for Army Reserve Medical Command, has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top two Soldiers from the AR-MEDCOM competition are scheduled to compete at the overall Army Reserve Best Warrior competition in North Carolina.

Schexnayder realized the high level competitions may not be able to go forward this year, but she is taking the news in with a positive warrior spirit and focusing on the additional time she has to train. “I guess disappointment was my mindset.” She stated. “I was ready to compete. I’ll just put everything on pause. I like physical activity. I get bored if I just sit around” said Schexnayder.

A human resource specialist, 42A, with 10 years of Army Service, Schexnayder was assigned to APMC in Nov. 2017. She recently completed the Army Master Fitness Trainer Course and has a goal to create a comprehensive workout program for Soldiers in her unit. In addition to working toward completion of her Associate degree in Human Resources Management and promotion to staff sergeant, she hopes to achieve the rank of master sergeant before retiring from the Army.

Traver commented that although Sgt. Schexnayder is his most junior person in the command, she is one of the most professional NCOs he has. “She’s quiet, but she’s a rock star. If I give her a task, I know it’s done. Physically nothing would have been a challenge to her. She just got through the Master Fitness Trainer course. If all goes well, we’ll get her there, at Best Warrior next year.”