NDSU student tests his intellectual, physical abilities in elite
NDSU senior Ryan Lindberg, a member of the North Dakota National Guard, can proudly say he is among the best warriors in the world.
Lindberg was a competitor at the “Best Warrior Competition” at Fort Lee, Va., during October. It was the first time a North Dakota Guardsman has qualified to compete at the prestigious event.
Lindberg, who is majoring in construction management, qualified for the competition after being named the best in his unit — the Jamestown-based 817th Engineer Company — followed by best at the brigade, state, seven-state region and national All-Guard levels.
During the elite competition, Lindberg went head-to-head with top soldiers from U.S. Army divisions around the world, including Special Forces and Army Rangers. Among other things, participants answered questions from a board of sergeants major, wrote an essay, took the Army physical fitness test and competed in daytime and nighttime “Urban Warfare Orientation Courses,” “Warrior Tasks” and “Battle Drills.”
“There was an insane amount of studying,” Lindberg said. “I have this 321-page binder with a plethora of information; I know I went through it at least 30 times during the past year. There was a big portion that went into the physical aspect, but over half of the competition was graded on your ability to answer Army questions.”
Lindberg was the top enlisted soldier in the combative tournament and also won the night version of the Urban Warfare Orientation Course. During the combative championship round, he suffered a broken right elbow but continued for three more fights in order to make it back to the championship round in the double elimination tournament.
As successful as he was, Lindberg missed the top spot — the only place announced — when the competition concluded. The title of best in the enlisted category went to Spc. Thomas Hauser of Army’s Forces Command, with Lindberg unofficially told he ended up in second place.
Lindberg said the various levels of competition stretched over 15 months, which had an impact on his NDSU classwork. As is often the case at NDSU, Lindberg found the faculty and other students eager to assist him.
“I missed almost three weeks of school for the competition,” Lindberg said. “My instructors and fellow students really worked with me, and have been patient with me. I got help with a few assignments and everyone has been really supportive.”
Lindberg quickly adds this isn’t the first time his NDSU instructors have been helpful during his military activities. He said special arrangements were made for him during a deployment to Iraq and while he worked on three different assignments to fight spring floods. “Everybody at NDSU has been great about things like that from the department heads to the teachers,” he said.
“I’m glad I went through the Best Warrior Competition. I think I’ve changed in a positive way as a person, as a soldier and as a student. I’ve learned a lot,” said Lindberg, who is scheduled to graduate in May and eventually hopes to own a construction company. “It’s humbling to sit in this spot, knowing I represented my unit and North Dakota. It was a pretty neat deal to make it the whole way. I left everything I had in Virginia; everything I did was the best I could do.”
Lindberg is the son of Rob and Donna Lindberg of Jamestown.