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Columbus native competing for Army Reserve’s 2010 Best Warrior title

Columbus native and Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Jason E. Searcy has spent the past week testing his mental toughness and physical endurance as a competitor in the Army Reserve’s 2010 Best Warrior Competition at Fort McCoy, Wis.

Searcy is one of 29 competitors coming from a force of more than 206,000 vying for top honors in the grueling, weeklong event, designed to push each participant to the limits of his or her soldiering abilities. When it is over, just two competitors will be named the Army Reserve’s Soldier and Non-commissioned Officer of the Year.

“I feel like I’m doing pretty good,” Searcy said Thursday afternoon during a telephone interview. “I’m trying to stay consistent with my events.”

The 29-year-old military police officer with the 3rd Battle Command Training Group, 4th Brigade, 75th Division, said the toughest part of the competition so far has been the 10K road march. Going into the final day of the contest he said none of the remaining 25 competitors know who’s in the lead.

During the course of the competition, participants have tackled a variety of challenges and obstacles such as a fitness test, written essay, road march and land navigation course. They were also tested on their marksmanship and hand-to-hand combat skills and confronted with four “mystery events.”

As far back as he can remember, Searcy wanted to serve and protect his country.

“I’ve always liked to help people,” Searcy said. “I’m always trying to find ways to make things better for people, make the world a better place ... I guess doing my part to make the world better.”

Upon graduation from Hardaway High in 2000, Searcy joined the Reserves at 19. Around that time he began working for the Columbus Police Department as a cadet. Following a yearlong deployment to Kuwait in 2003 Searcy took his policing skills across the river and became a member of the Phenix City Police Department where he now serves on the SWAT team.

Searcy said he owes much of his success in his civilian career to the skills and discipline he’s learned over the course of his 9 years of military service.

“It helps me put a lot of things into perspective,” he said. “A lot of things that might stress other people out won’t stress me out.”

The winners of the Army Reserve’s Best Warrior Competition will be announced today. They will go on to represent the Reserves at the Department of the Army’s worldwide competition at Fort Lee, Va., in October.