News: The 80th Training Command's 2013 best warriors
Story by Staff Sgt. Emily Anderson
FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – Two soldiers assigned to the 100th Training Division (Operational Support) won top honors at this year’s 80th Training Command (Total Army School System) Best Warrior Competition, held at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., April 16 to 21.
The winner’s of this year’s competition, Staff Sgt. Kathleen Briere, NCO of the Year, and Spc. Luis Melendez, Soldier of the Year, were announced at a banquet on the last day of the competition.
“I don’t think it has sunk in yet,” said Briere. “I am surprised to win because the competition was tough, but everyone’s a winner just for competing.”
The Best Warrior Competition was developed by retired Sergeant Major of the Army Jack Tilley in 2002, as a test of a soldier’s physical endurance, military knowledge, current events, and mental perseverance.
While Best Warrior is a competition, it is also one of the most extensive and intense training opportunities afforded any soldier.
“This competition makes you a better person and a better soldier,” Briere said. “It’s all about training. That’s all I focused on, and it paid off.”
Melendez echoed similar sentiments about the competition and how he was glad he competed.
“This competition is not about competing against others, but about developing me and my strength,” Melendez said. “I’m excited to win, but I still have a few details to work on, so I’ll start training again next week.”
During the competition, hosted by the 102nd Training Division (Maneuver Support), soldiers were tested on their performance of the Army Physical Fitness Test, an appearance at a military selection board, weapons qualification, day and night land navigation, written exams, and Warrior task testing lanes.
“I was petrified before the start of the competition,” Briere said. “For the last four weeks, I spent every spare moment I had training for this.”
“My recommendation for anyone interested in competing is to get out there and train regardless of how tired you are,” she added. “Especially for female soldiers because we have to work twice as hard because our bodies are not naturally built to do what male Soldiers can do.”
In addition to Briere and Melendez being named the winners of the competition, Sgt. 1st Rosemary Armijo, 100th Training Division (OS) and Sgt. Brice Smith, 102nd Training Division (MS), were also recognized during the banquet for being selected for induction into the Sergeant Audie Murphy Board.
The winners of the 80th TC best warrior competition will now go on to compete in the U.S. Army Reserve Command’s BWC June 2013.