News: North Augusta native wins Best Warrior Competition
Story by Staff Sgt. Eric W. Jones
CAMP BLANDING, Fla. – Spc. James R. Freitas, a combat medic with the 5010th U.S. Army Hospital, wins the Best Warrior Soldier of the Year during the Best Warrior Competition hosted by the Army Reserve Medical Command March 22 – 29, 2013, here and at Camp Blanding in Starke, Fla.
“Completing the course was an accomplishment … the competition was very intense,” said Freitas, a native and high school graduate of North Augusta, S.C. “So to be able to put your body and your mind through what we have is just outstanding.”
Freitas, assigned to the 5010th USAH, Southeast Medical Area Readiness Support Group from Fort Gordon, Ga., will advance to the next level of the Best Warrior Competition representing the Army Reserve Medical Command competing against soldiers throughout the Army Reserve this summer, and upon winning moves forward to represent the Army Reserve Command in the Department of the Army Best Warrior Competition, later in the year.
“It was important for me to compete … I always try to excel at whatever I do,” said Freitas, 23, who understands the role of leading by example for soldiers in his unit to emulate. “It’s been kind of a life-changing (experience).”
As a citizen-soldier, he lives by the seven core Army values: Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage, implementing each one back into his civilian job, and with the people that he meets.
“I got my nursing license through the Army,” said Freitas, a licensed practical nurse at Georgia Health Science University. “I owe the Army more than I can repay.”
Freitas acknowledged that when he serves his community, his military and civilian medical training, are more valuable to the people he helps while teaching CPR and basic life support skills as an American Heart Association instructor.
The competitors spent the week on a variety of challenges which included, an air assault obstacle course, an Army Physical Fitness Test consisting of pushups, sit-ups, and a two-mile run, negotiating a urban warfighting orienteering course, completing a timed road march, conducting weapons qualification on rifles and pistols, completing a written exam, performing on an Army appearance board, and proving their mettle in areas such as, a hand-to-hand combative tournament, several mystery events, and squad tactics set in a mock city neighborhood in Afghanistan, with opposing forces, complete with smoke and flash-bang grenades.
The competition was developed by retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Jack Tilley in 2002 as a test of a soldier’s physical endurance, military knowledge, current events and mental perseverance.
For the “warrior medics” of AR-MEDCOM, the annual competition is an opportunity for soldiers to highlight their military skills in a competitive environment and measure how well they perform under stress.
Freitas began this competition competing at unit-level, advancing to the brigade-level and winning at the AR-MEDCOM-level distinguishing him as the Soldier of the Year for AR-MEDCOM.
There is no rest for Freitas as he advances on to train and prepare for U.S. Army Reserve Best Warrior Competition this summer, upon winning at the major command level, he will represent the Army Reserve at the Department of the Army competition, later in the year.
“Now, I’ve got to train, so I can do the best I can,” said Freitas.