FORT CUSTER, Michigan (November 4-7, 2019) – U.S. Army Reserve Soldiers from the 645th Regional Support Group came together to participate in a Best Warrior Competition.
The competitors hit the ground running as soon as they arrived for in-processing by having their height and weight measured, and laying out all of their equipment to be graded on how well they followed a required packing list.
Immediately following that the Soldiers were taken to a site where they had to evaluate and treat a simulated casualty, perform an event from the new Army Combat Fitness Test, and reassemble multiple weapons from a pile of mixed components. Cadre grading the competitors on their performance increased the difficulty of the simulated casualty event by disorienting the Soldiers with strobe lights, smoke, and battlefield noises played on large speakers.
“It just made everything seem a little more realistic,” said Pfc. James Schwark from the 406th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion
The second day of the event began early with an Army Physical Fitness Test, then proceeded on to a written essay, a land navigation course, pistol marksmanship test, rifle qualification, and continued late into the night with the same land navigation course being used again in the dark.
Many of the competitors were unfamiliar with the M9 pistol and night time land navigation equipment, making the second day especially challenging for them.
“I participated so I can know exactly where I am at now, and I’m trying to improve myself more,” said Spc. Rabie Salam from the 952nd Quartermaster Company. “So the next time I participate in this competition I’ll be ready.”
The final day of the competition tested the competitors both physically and mentally with a six mile ruck march, a confidence course, and an appearance before a board of senior noncommissioned officers questioning them on a variety of topics. Subjecting the competing Soldiers to multiple challenges in such a short period of time is not done exclusively to show who is the fastest or most intelligent, it also pushes the Soldiers to new limits.
“I was really impressed with the obstacle course, especially after the six mile ruck march,” Sgt. Maj. Richard Hagar, assigned to the 645th RSG. “That’s a lot of endurance.”
After the scores were tallied two Soldiers were selected as the best warriors; Staff Sgt. Joshua Czerkies was chosen in the noncommissioned officer category, and Spc. Joseph George was chosen in the enlisted category. Both of them will go on to represent the 645th Regional Support Group at the 103rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command’s Best Warrior Competition in March 2020.
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