News: 2012 US Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition: What does it take to make a Best Warrior?
FORT McCOY, Wis. – Months of coordination meetings and site visits are over for a group of non-commissioned officers from the U.S. Army Reserve Command headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Now it’s time to see their efforts come to fruition at the 2012 U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior competition held here, July 14-20.
The ultimate goal is to find the top NCO and soldier who will represent the Army Reserve at the Department of the Army Best Warrior competition later this year at Fort Lee, Va.
Sgt. Maj. Richard “Mitch” Prater, the USARC Operations sergeant major overseeing this year’s competition, said holding a Best Warrior competition for the Army Reserve benefits the entire Army.
“I mean that in the respect to competing on an equal plane with all three components: active component, National Guard, and reserve,” Prater said. “For the first time in our history, we’ve generated enough experience, expertise, and wealth of knowledge to compete with our counterparts.”
Prater said the competition is not only for exposure, but it also sends a message about the quality of Army Reserve soldiers.
“To let everyone else know we’re here to play, we’re here to stay,” Prater said. “We can do what you do and we’ve won it (Army level) a couple of times, which means we can do it just as good or better.”
More than 160 tactical and technical subject matter experts from across the entire Army Reserve will put 43 NCOs and junior enlisted soldiers through their paces in the grueling, weeklong competition.
The planning for this year’s event started weeks after last year’s Army-level competition. After-action reviews from Warriors, their sponsors, and training cadre were incorporated to make this year’s event more challenging than its predecessors.
“In November we started putting everything together for our operations order,” said Master Sgt. Richard Long, with the USARC Individual Training section and this year’s planning cell team leader. From there, Long said the team coordinated with different Army Reserve units, made site visits, and synchronized their efforts with Fort McCoy directorates and personnel.
Long, who worked on last year’s planning team, said all the support personnel have strived to make this year’s competition better.
“I want to make this the best that it can be,” Long said. “I want to make it better than Department of the Army … so that we know that we have the very best that we’re sending forward.”
The competition is a massive logistical challenge that includes securing transportation, weapons, ammunition, personal equipment, meals, lodging, communications, and medical and range support.
“We like McCoy because it’s a user friendly post,” said Sgt. 1st Class Juan Ayala, with the USARC logistics. “All the people here at Fort McCoy; you walk up to them and they do their best. They do 200 percent to help you.”
Fort McCoy offers the Army Reserve state-of-the-art training and a centralized location in the U.S. to host the competition. The ranges have the latest training aids and are manned by personnel who have honed their techniques, providing a realistic training environment for the Warriors.
“We’ve gotten enough experience with these folks and enough continuity with them that now we don’t have to reinvent the wheel,” Prater said. “Fort McCoy has really bent over backwards to make sure that they facilitated our needs.”
Master Sgt. Paul Caswell, Fort McCoy garrison training and administrative NCO, has been supporting Best Warrior for the past three years.
Caswell said that what makes McCoy an ideal place for the competition is the ability to house, move, and train transient units with state-of-the-art facilities.
“That’s what we do here,” Caswell said. “Come to Fort McCoy and let us give you the resources to train.”
Prater said the investment in dollars and hours of work planning and executing the competition is worth it.
“It’s worth every nickel and then some,” Prater said. “We have the opportunity to use training dollars to have a competition that is more like a training event. When you look at the resources and planning, it crosses all of the commands, and it’s the only event that all of our commands have a vested interest in.”
In the end, Prater said the Best Warrior competition highlights the best of the 205,000 men and women serving in the ranks of America’s warrior-citizens.
“This is an opportunity for two people – an NCO and a junior enlisted soldier – to walk away saying they are the best of the Army Reserve,” he said.
“They’re going to get exposure that nobody else will get. They will get media attention. They’ll get the command’s attention. They’ll get to see most of the country and all the units,” he said.
“They become the face of the Army Reserve,” Prater said. “Leaders will come and go, but the soldiers will remain.”
This work, 2012 US Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition: What does it take to make a Best Warrior?, by Timothy Hale, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.
Date Posted:07.17.2012 15:34
Location:FORT MCCOY, WI, US
Hometown:ATLANTA, GA, US
Hometown:FLINT, MI, US
Hometown:NASHVILLE, TN, US
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