Arsenal Staff Sgt. competing in Best Warrior compe

By Steve Long

Published 08/14 2014 10:37PM

Updated 08/15 2014 01:18AM

We all get up every day and go to work.

But few of us have spent our careers constantly preparing for more.

However, that's exactly what one man, stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal, is doing.

"We do about 3000 people worth of badging and security badges,” said Staff Segeant Kevin Alan Hopson.

When you look at Staff Sergeant Kevin Alan Hopson, you may see the man who works here, at army sustainment command at the Rock Island Arsenal.

"I control all the access control for this building, building 350 and a couple of other buildings on the arsenal,” said Sgt. Hopson.

What you may not see is that his entire military career has prepared him.. to be a warrior.

"It's been a very interesting 9 years full of learning.  There's been good times and bad times but i wouldn't trade it for anything,” said Sgt. Hopson.

Sgt. Hopson joined the army right out of high school.  He trained in Fort Drum New York to join the military police.

His first adventure came about a year later. 

"So I deployed to Iraq in 2006 and I stayed there in 2008 training Iraqi police. Embedded trainers.  Living with, eating their food and just training them on day to day police activities,” said Sgt. Hopson.

When he returned to the states, Sgt Hopson spent some time in Hawaii, where his career in military law enforcement took a unique turn.

"I was able to serve on the drug suppression team where I worked counter-narcotics for the whole pacific region,” said Sgt. Hopson.

But still he wanted something more.  So, 18 months later, he volunteered to deploy again, this time to Afghanistan.

"Cause I wanted soldiers and I wanted to lead soldiers into combat,” said Sgt. Hopson.

His time in Afghanistan proved difficult, but he proved he had what it takes to be a leader.

"In my most recent deployment to Afghanistan, there were several personal sized IED's that were placed in some of the pathways around villages that we were clearing and unfortunately one of our sister unites that we were serving with, a young PFC stepped on one of those and he lost most of his foot.  I was able to apply a series of tourniquets on his legs and he was able to survive,” said Sgt. Hopson.

Now Sgt. Hopson is here, stationed at the Rock Island Arsenal.  He's learning a whole new set of skills, aimed at becoming a more well-rounded non-commissioned officer.

And a better warrior.

In fact, he's training to be the best.

"The competition, when I was in Hawaii, i actually competed several times in the lower level competitions," said Hopson.

The best warrior competition is an army wide contest that requires both physical and mental agility. 

"I stopped when I deployed.  I really thought that was just a really good way to end it.  I ended up on a win.  it was a good feeling to get out like that,” said Sgt. Hopson.

But now he's back, and better than ever. 

Staff Sergeant Hopson recently won the competition at the army materiel command level..but he's not done yet.

"I could have gotten first in those competitions and I won't stop until I'm the best I can possibly be," he said.

The next stop for him..  competing in the army wide best warrior competition in October.

"that's, that's it.  i mean, that's, you're in front of the sergeant major of the army.  there's no bigger competition than this one,” said Sgt. Hopson.

So, what does it take to be the best warrior?

Sergeant Hopson talks about how he's training, and what competition is like, in next Thursday's edition of  Rock Island Arsenal, inside the gates.  

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