News: Army Reserve Best Warriors shoot azimuth toward success
Story by Staff Sgt. Shawn Morris
JOINT BASE MCGUIRE-DIX-LAKEHURST, N.J. - As Sgt. Kathleen Shetley fought her way through the heavy undergrowth of New Jersey’s pinelands, she was outfitted not with the latest global-position gadgets, but with the most basic of navigation tools.
Using only compass, map and protractor, Shetley and her fellow Soldiers faced the land navigation portion of the Best Warrior Competition being hosted by the Army Reserve’s 99th Regional Support Command and 76th Operational Response Command this week at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, N.J.
“It’s always good to go back to the basics,” said Shetley, a Soldier with the Army Reserve’s 380th Army Band headquartered in Richmond, Va. “In the Army, you need to be self-reliant.”
Although the military is outfitted with the latest electronic navigation equipment, the point of the Best Warrior event was to test the basic navigation skills that all Soldiers learn.
“Sometimes we forget the value of basic land navigation,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Castelveter, command sergeant major for the 99th RSC. “We do have the greatest technology in the world, but if that technology goes down, you have to be able to navigate.”
The land navigation course led competitors through several wooded miles to find four points within a three-hour time limit, testing their physical endurance and stamina.
“It motivates me to become more in-shape, and then I can pull that motivation into my Soldiers,” said Shetley, who works as a group fitness instructor in her civilian life.
In addition to the land navigation event, the Best Warrior Competition tests these citizen-Soldiers’ warrior skills with events such as the Army Physical Fitness Test, M16 qualification and “move and shoot” ranges, hand-to-hand combatives, urban combat event and a road march.
“I always love these competitors who raise their hands to do something that isn’t easy to do,” Castelveter said. “They have to put themselves through not only the physical but the mental and emotional part of any competition, and as an Army Reservist, it is very difficult to raise your hand when you’re in school, studying, working.
“Just to see what they have to go through with a ‘hooah’ attitude, it motivates me that much more,” he added.