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Road to victory...Best Warrior Competition

Posted 3/30/2010   Updated 3/30/2010 Email story   Print story


by Sgt. 1st Class Jose A. Gonzalez, Jr.
77th Sustainment Brigade, public affairs

3/30/2010 - JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. -- The road to victory is not an easy route, but for the soldiers and non-commissioned officers who took the challenge of the Best Warrior Competition, that's the route they must take. The 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition was held at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst March 12 - 14 hosted by the 77th Sustainment Brigade. This is the second step toward the ultimate goal of representing the United States Army Reserve Command at the U.S. Army Best Warrior Competition being held this October at Fort Lee, Va.

The competition consisted of 12 candidates, six junior enlisted and six NCO's from various commands under the 316th ESC. Each candidate was sponsored by an individual from his or her unit. The sponsor was responsible for making sure the candidates were prepared and ready for the grueling and stressful events of this competition.

"Sponsors, I appreciate you being here for the soldiers, encourage them through the process", said Command Sgt. Maj. Najee Lunde, 77th Sustainment Brigade. "It's not easy ... you and I can look from the sidelines but they are the ones that have to get up in the morning and gut this thing out."

The first event was the written exam. This tested the basic knowledge of the warriors in various military categories. The Army physical fitness test was conducted the next morning at 5 a.m. The warriors grunted out every push-up and sit-up before a two-mile run in the pouring rain.

The warriors barely had enough time to shower and eat before departing for the range to zero and qualify in their M16 rifle. Due to the high winds, the event was cancelled for safety reasons.

The contestant's next stop was the land navigation course. Each warrior had to locate four out of four points within two hours to pass. This might sound easy but the pouring rain flooded some of the points. This did not waver any of the warriors as they marched through the harsh conditions toward their objectives.

The next event consisted of several stations to challenge them on their Army warrior skills. Map reading, evaluate a casualty and vehicle search are a few of the task they had to pass. Machinegun fire and explosives simulators were added to make the scenarios more realistic and stressful for the contestants.

Day three was just as hard as day two. The competitors had an even earlier wake-up call at 4 a.m. This included day light saving time as they lost an hour of sleep. The six mile road march was next and the competitors had to make sure their rucksacks were packed according to the packing list. This is attention to detail. If one item was missing from their 60 pound rucksacks, points would be deducted from their overall time.

Next, all the warriors had to sit in front of a board consisting of the sergeant majors. This also will scale their knowledge on basic military subjects. They were also judged on their appearance wearing the Army class A's or the new Army service uniform.

After the board concluded, points were totaled up and winners for NCO and Soldier best warrior were chosen.

During the ceremony, Brig. Gen. Peter Lennon and Command Sgt. Maj. Stacey Davis, 316th Sustainment Command recognized the soldiers and NCO's that planned and executed the Best Warrior Competition. They presented each one with the Sergeant Major's Coin for excellence.

The winners of the competition were Staff Sgt. Jestin Llewellyn from Fort Belvoir, Va. won the NCO Best Warrior and Specialist Allen Fary from Fort Belvoir, Va. won the Soldier Best Warrior. Both winners, from the 55th Sustainment Brigade, were awarded an Army Commendation Medal and a plaque.

The runner-ups were Sgt. John Graniello from Sparta, N.J. for the NCO Best Warrior and Specialist Paul Bauducco from Philadelphia, Pa. for the Soldier Best Warrior. Both soldiers, from the 77th Sustainment Brigade, received a certificated of achievement for their accomplishment.

The road to victory was not an easy one. For the soldiers and NCO's of the 316th Sustainment Brigade Best Warrior Competition, the journey was sweet.

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