JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - Firing ranges, hardscrabble woods, and army classrooms served as backdrops for 12 soldiers who tested their strength, fortitude and military knowledge during the 316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command 2012 Best Warrior competition, March 29-April 1.
The rivals battled through 12 challenges that included the APFT, day and night land navigation, weapons qualification with the M4 carbine and the Beretta M9 pistol, a 10-mile road march, and Army Warrior Tasks ranging from treating a casualty to assembling and disassembling four weapons systems. Competitors were also required to take a written exam, submit an essay and appear before a board of sergeants major who closely evaluated their military bearing and subject matter knowledge.
This year, the “Soldier of the Year” victory went to Spc. Christopher P. Fitt, 439th Quartermaster Company. Staff Sgt. John W. Schillereff, 38th Regional Support Group, won “Best Warrior” title for the non-commissioned officers.
Like all the competitors, Schillereff relished the mix of competition and teamwork underpinning all events. “I think it builds esprit de corps … you have to work together in these competitions,” he said. “Even though it’s a competition, you have to push each other. If somebody knows you want to compete, they’re going to try harder.”
Fitt, an endurance athlete who completed Combat Life Saver, Combatives and Warrior Leader Course prior to this competition, said, “This should bring out the best in everybody; not bring out some of the trash you see in sports. This is a team atmosphere, so it’s like running sprint drills on your team—on your football team. Who’s the fastest player on your team? Doesn’t matter. He’s still on your team, even though that person beat you at it.”
The 12 soldiers advanced from a field of 11,000 potential competitors across seven subordinate brigades in 13 states. Sgt. Maj. Parvin Rosario, 316th ESC support operations sergeant major in charge of logistics for the event, spoke about the guts needed to take on this kind of competition. "For that soldier to have the intestinal fortitude to come forward and say, ‘yeah, I’ll do it,’ it says something about that soldier ... To me, those are our junior leaders, the soldiers who are going to move forward. You've got to have the desire and the intestinal fortitude to not only be a soldier, but to be willing to compete as a soldier; to test your limits as a soldier."
Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Bolduc, 316th ESC command sergeant major, said, "The soldiers who competed here ... they're a reflection of what we want our soldiers to be. They do not lack confidence ... they want to do their best and they want to show people they got 'swagger.'"
Both Schillereff and Fitt begin training to compete at the next level, which is the 377th Theater Sustainment Command Best Warrior competition.
316th Expeditionary Sustainment Command 2012 Best Warrior Competitors
Enlisted soldiers (specialist and below):
Spc. Jin Crow
976th Transportation Detachment
Spc. Danielle N. Evans (runner-up)
408th Human Resource Company
Spc. Christopher P. Fitt
439th Quartermaster Company
Pvt. Dane Johns
462nd Transportation Battalion
Pfc. Michael A. Marrero
851st Transportation Company
Spc. Darryn E. Taylor
811th Ordnance Company
Spc. Michael J. Zedick
277th Quartermaster Company
Non-commissioned officers (sergeant to sergeant first class)
Sgt. Henryk W. Bender
334th Quartermaster Battalion
Sgt. Jonathan P. Coupal (runner-up)
962nd Ordnance Company
Sgt. Jestin A. Llewellyn
55th Sustainment Brigade
Staff Sgt. John W. Schillereff
38th Regional Support Group
Sgt. Justin D. Scotch
962nd Ordnance Company