Face of Defense: Guard Soldier Competes in ‘American Ninja Warrior’


A Pennsylvania National Guard soldier competed in the “American Ninja Warrior” television show in Philadelphia, May 19-20.

A soldier competes in American Ninja Warrior.
Army Sgt. Tyler Waters, a motor transport operator with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 337th Engineer Battalion, competes in the Philadelphia City final of the American Ninja Warrior television show, May 19-20, 2018. Pennsylvania Army National Guard photo illustration
A soldier competes in American Ninja Warrior.
Ninja Guardsman
Army Sgt. Tyler Waters, a motor transport operator with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 337th Engineer Battalion, competes in the Philadelphia City final of the American Ninja Warrior television show, May 19-20, 2018. Pennsylvania Army National Guard photo illustration

Army Sgt. Tyler Waters, a motor transport operator with the 337th Engineer Battalion, 55th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade, 28th Infantry Division, placed 17th in the competition.

“I've been a fan of the show for years and I've always felt that I had the combination of strength and athleticism to excel on any of the ever-changing courses,” Waters said.

Waters came within seconds of advancing to the national competition held in Las Vegas, which would have required finishing in the top 15.

‘The Experience Was Great’

“The experience was great,” he said. “It was interesting to see the different competitors from different walks of life that excelled in the course. Simply being physically fit, as some of the competitors appeared to be sculpted from stone, wasn't enough.”

Waters credits both his family and his unit for supporting him through the competition.

“Being in the Army definitely helped to sharpen what I already envisioned as a strength of mine; my mental focus and toughness,” he said.

In his civilian life, Waters is a Pennsylvania State Trooper, which he said has many similarities to a military career and allows him to carry the same mindset he’s cultivated as a soldier at all times.

This mentality enabled Waters’ success in the American Ninja Warrior contest, and he said he hopes to compete again and reach the finals.