News: Soldiers, NCOs, officers compete for battalion Best Warrior
Story by Staff Sgt. Alexander Burnett
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany - They come from around the organization for a chance to compete. They have been selected by their leaders and peers as one of the best. Now they have to prove it.
Soldiers, noncommissioned officers and officers from the 21st Theater Sustainment Command’s 21st Special Troops Battalion performed tasks and competitions in the Kaiserslautern Military Community and Baumholder, Germany, during the battalion’s Best Warrior Competition March 3-7.
The competition began on Rhine Ordnance Barracks in the early hours of March 3. The competitors started with a modified Army Physical Fitness Test. In place of the Improved Physical Fitness Uniform, they wore Army Combat Uniforms with running shoes. They also carried their weapons during the running portion of the test.
“It surprised me what a difference carrying the weapon made on my run time,” said Spc. Shane Waite, an intelligence analyst assigned to the 21st TSC and a native of Cleveland. “I ran a good minute slower than normal.”
The competition then moved forward to daytime and night land navigation. The warriors were given a starting point and four eight-digit grid coordinates to find in an allotted time while wearing body armor and a helmet. During the night land navigation competitors were only allowed to use a red-lens flashlight for illumination.
“I was surprised that I found more of my points at night than I did during the day,” said 2nd Lt. Kathleen G. McDougal, an operations officer with the 21st STB. “This has been a very fun experience. It is important for us as soldiers to get out and perform our basic soldier skills with some healthy competition.”
The second day of Best Warrior brought the crew-served weapons knowledge portion. Each soldier aligned their sights on both the M249 and M2 .50-caliber machine guns using the Engagement Skills Trainer on Panzer Kaserne.
The competitors also fought each other using Modern Army Combatives techniques on Rhine Ordnance Barracks. Soldiers sparred for six minutes and received points for gaining the dominant position in the fight or for causing their opponent to tap out.
The third and fourth days of Best Warrior took place on Smith Barracks in Baumholder, Germany. The competing soldiers completed a grueling 12-mile ruck-march, demonstrated their knowledge of first-aid and combat life-saver techniques, and conducted a fire-under-stress weapons qualification range.
The final day of competition involved each warrior submitting an essay discussing sexual harassment in the Army, appearing in the Army Service Uniform before a board and engaging a member of the civilian media. After the day’s events were complete, the board members deliberated and tallied each soldier’s score. The winners were announced during a ceremony on Panzer Field that afternoon.
The 21st STB Best Warriors are: Spc. James Simo in the Soldier category, Sgt. Joel Phelps in the NCO category, and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric Christianson. Christianson was also the overall competition winner, with the most total points from the events.
“I wanted to compete for my soldiers,” said Christiansen, an airdrop systems technician assigned to the 5th Quartermaster Company, 21st STB and a native of Ada, Okla. “Hopefully to motivate my soldiers and my NCOs (noncommissioned officers) to become better leaders.”
These soldiers will continue on to the 21st TSC Best Warrior competition.