News: 316th ESC Best Warrior
Story by Sgt. Christopher Bigelow
FORT DEVENS, Mass. – “One more mile, one more round, I’m not tired yet, I can do this all day. Yesterday was my hardest day, I’ve got this,” the inner dialogs of the warriors competing in the 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) best warrior competition all have one thing in common.
They are driven.
Six competitors have proven themselves to be the best of the best among their peers and have been awarded the opportunity to represent their individual brigades, at Fort Devens, Mass., in a competition designed to highlight their soldier skills.
“I was nervous when I was initially told I was going to be in the competition,” said Staff Sgt. Cornelius Cobbs, from Philadelphia, a petroleum supply sergeant representing the 316th ESC, an Army Reserve unit from Pittsburgh.
“However I’ve trained hard and I don’t feel that there is anything that I can’t handle,” Cobbs added.
After winning the titles of best warrior at the battalion level, six competitors have earned the right to compete for the title of best warrior in a competition run by the 475th Quartermaster Group for the 316th ESC.
“Events like this highlight what soldiers can do when given the right training opportunities,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Vernon Perry III, the command sergeant major of the 475th Quartermaster Group, the Army Reserve unit tasked with running the competition.
“The competitors here are very professional. They have a very high anticipation level for this competition, and I’m sure at the end of this, each of these competitors is going to come out a better Soldier,” said Perry.
The Best Warrior Competition consisted of 13 separate events, a Physical Fitness test, Written Exams, multiple live fire day and night ranges, a 10-mile road march, a day and night land navigation course, a combatives tournament, and an Appearance Board were all parts of the competition.
“Competing in 13 events ensures we select the top NCO and top enlisted soldier in this command,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael J. Bolduc, the command sergeant major of the 316th ESC.
“A Soldier has to consistently place well in each event to win. Being good at only a few events will not be enough to win this competition,” said Bolduc.
Six Soldiers representing five separate battalions from the Army reserve came to compete in the competition, however only one noncommissioned officer and one enlisted Soldier could win.
Staff Sgt. Daniel Stein, a utility equipment repairer with the 298th Service Maintenance Company, and Spc. Michael Velazquez, an armament repairer representing the 237th Support Maintenance Company, each earned the title of best warrior, by consistently placing themselves at the top of each of their events.
“The competition was intense, but the camaraderie and the experience was even more so,” said Velazquez.
“I’m feeling motivated both spiritually and mentally; I can’t wait to move onto the next competition,” Velazquez added.
The winners of the 316th ESC Best Warrior Competition will move on to the 377th Theater Sustainment Command Best Warrior Competition.
“The winners will have some work to do and it is my job to with the support of their commands staff to get them prepared for the 377th TSC Best Warrior Competition. If they are fortunate enough to win that, they will be off to compete in the U.S. Army Reserve Command's competition and then the Department of the Army’s,” said Bolduc.
“We have high hopes for both our enlisted soldier and our NCO,” added Bolduc.
According to Bolduc the Best Warrior Competition is a means of identifying soldiers from the active component and the Reserve component who are truly dedicated to their profession.
“When you look across the spectrum of the Army, their examples serve as a guide for what other soldiers aspire to be and as role models, Soldiers look up to them and say, 'I want to be like that,’” Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III.