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    Task Force Sinai’s First Best Warrior

    Task Force Sinai Best Warrior Competition

    Courtesy Photo | U.S. Army Sgt. Fernando Lopez, a military policeman deployed to Egypt with the 4th...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. Jeremy Odom 

    Task Force Sinai

    SINAI, Egypt - "No one is more professional than I!" These powerful words echoed through the U.S. Army’s 1st Support Battalion headquarters building during the inaugural Task Force Sinai Best Warrior Competition, held in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt Monday.

    “The intention of this event was to foster esprit de corp, offer training and development to our future leaders and to recognize our Soldiers for their hard work,” Command Sgt. Maj. Mark Rogers, senior enlisted adviser for the 757th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, said.

    Out of the more than 700 U.S. Soldiers deployed in support of the Multinational Force and Observers, each unit selected the competitor which would best represent their organization.

    While the search for the most talented noncommissioned officer’s within each formation was difficult for some, selecting Sgt. Fernando Lopez to represent the 4th Squadron, 3rd Cavalry Regiment deployed out of Fort Hood, TX was a "no brainer" for his supervisors.

    “It was an easy choice for me,” Staff Sgt. Joshuah Thompson, North Camp Response Team Platoon Sergeant, said. “Sgt. Lopez is by far one of the best NCOs I have had the pleasure to work with, because he is an example of what every NCO in the Army should be.”

    Although the selection may have come easy for Lopez’s leadership, the train up and preparation for the competition was not.
    With a typical work day spanning more than 12 hours long, each participant selflessly sacrificed personal time, effort and even sleep to prepare for the unknown.

    Altogether, the peacekeepers were responsible for memorizing and reciting in front of a board of senior noncommissioned officers the regulations, guidelines and procedures from more than 30 different topics ranging from weapons to survival techniques. To make the day more stressful, each Soldier and noncommissioned officer was tested on five separate situational training lanes which included tactical field care for a wounded Soldier, reporting a 9-line medevac and issuing a warning order. Each competitor received points for their performance which was later added to their scores from the Army physical fitness test and weapons range.

    “It was truly a test of each competitor’s physical and mental toughness,” said Sgt. Thomas Duval, Task Force Sinai Public Affairs noncommissioned officer. “If you want to compete with the best you have to eat, train and study like the best and that means physically and mentally pushing yourself to the edge and then some. Normally I’m behind the scenes capturing the competition in photos and video. This time I was able to step out from behind the lens and show other competitors that at the end of the day we are all Soldiers regardless of whether our primary weapon is an M4s or a camera.”

    Like Lopez and Duval, all the competitors pushed themselves to the limits and their efforts did not go unnoticed.

    “The Soldiers and NCOs all put forth maximum effort and did an excellent job representing their Battalions and TF Sinai,” Rogers said. “I am very proud of them for setting high standards and I hope more personnel will lean forward to accept the challenge in the future.”

    Despite each competitor giving their all, in the end there could only be one "Best Warrior."

    Lopez, a military policeman, took home top honors in the noncommissioned officer group and Spc. Daniel Mwangi, an airframe repairer, with the Aviation Company, 1st Support Battalion, stayed strong and came out on top in the Soldier group.

    “When I heard my name called as the winner, I felt a relief inside and thought to myself, ‘all that hard work really paid off’,” Lopez, a Texas native said. “This was an event that I will never forget.”

    Although his achievement was a defining moment for himself and his unit, Lopez said he could not have done it without the constant support he received from his wife and four sons who encouraged him along the way.

    Regardless of who won and who didn’t, each Soldier walked away with their own personal victories and a new respect for the competition and its competitors.

    “After I got to know the competitors throughout the different events, I realized that we were all deserving and I became more humble just to be in the mix competing with such great leaders,” Duval said. “It’s not every day that a public affairs NCO gets to compete with cavalrymen and combat arms MOS’ in a competition of this magnitude so at the end of the day I walked away from the competition feeling proud, relieved and accomplished.”



    Date Taken: 01.21.2015
    Date Posted: 01.21.2015 05:13
    Story ID: 152336
    Location: SINAI, EG
    Hometown: BALTIMORE, MD, US
    Hometown: JACKSONVILLE, FL, US
    Hometown: KILLEEN, TX, US
    Hometown: SAN ANGELO, TX, US

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