The National Guard's motto is “always ready, always there,” but one local pair is taking that motto to a whole other level. Staff Sgt. Stephen Mulholland is training.

What You Need To Know

  • Staff Sgt. Stephen Mulholland, an Auburn resident was named the Best Warrior in the non-commissioned officer category

  • Specialist Dakoatah Miller, a Cortland student, won in the junior enlisted category

  • Both soldiers are from the 108th Infantry Regiment

  • The pair will compete in a regional Best Warrior competition during the first week of May

“It is humbling. It definitely gives me a sense of pride being the representative for New York," Staff Sgt. Mulholland said.

The Auburn resident was named the “Best Warrior” for the New York National Guard in the Non-Commissioned Officer category. So now, he’s getting ready for regionals.

“I have two boys at home and it gives them something to shoot for," Staff Sgt. Mulholland said.

He’s a member of the 2nd Battalion, 108th infantry regiment, but he’s not the only one. Enter Corp. Dakoatah Miller.

“It’s the idea of representing your unit, your state," Miller said.

The duo is working together, focusing on fitness, military knowledge and marksmanship and endurance — all parts of the competition.

“It helps to have somebody you know for so long. We know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. We can push it," Corp. Miller said.

“I’m there to be in his face to say ‘we’re in this.’ If we’re not training, our competition is training that much harder," Staff Sgt. Mulholland said.

For the pair, it’s all about reps. Disassembling and reassembling weapons is one of dozens of things they need to be ready for.

“If it’s a task you have not practiced, it’s going to be challenging," Staff Sgt. Mulholland said.

If they win regionals this week, they’ll head to nationals.

“We’re going to go out there, give it our all and hopefully win," Staff Sgt. Mulholland said.

It won’t be easy, but they’re prepared to get this job done. The northeast region competition runs through May 7 at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst in New Jersey.