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    Signal Command hosts 2017 Best Warrior Competition

    Checking the Map

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Brent Powell | Army Reserve Spc. Julian Ditona, a multi-channel transmission systems...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Powell 

    335th Signal Command (Theater)

    FORT HUACHUCA, ARIZONA – Long before the first rays of sunlight danced across the ominous mountain peaks and long before they painted the cool desert sky in various shades of oranges, yellows and blues, an elite group of warriors were already heavily immersed in competition here.

    The Soldiers, part of the most capable, ready and lethal Federal Reserve force in the history of the United States, have gathered here to compete in the 335th Signal Command (Theater) 2017 Best Warrior Competition.

    This year the command is hosting 11 Soldiers from across the United States, all vying to showcase their warrior skills and prove they are they best in the profession.

    Day one of the five-day competition began by challenging the Soldiers with the U.S. Army Physical Fitness Test; a three-pronged event that tests upper body strength, core strength and aerobic fitness through push-ups, sit-ups and a two-mile run.

    When the scores were tallied, Sgt. Stephen Messenger, an information technology specialist and native of Locust Grove, Virginia, assigned to the 1st Information Operations Command, posted the overall highest score of a 281. “I didn’t think I would be the first to cross the finish line,” said Messenger after completing the two-mile run ahead of his peers. “I’m used to running on the east coast and it’s definitely a different climate out here.”

    Once the fitness event was complete, the group was given time for breakfast and personal hygiene, then it was off to the next event...land navigation. Set against a backdrop of looming mountains, the course boasted a combination of tall grass and scrub brush, and was dotted with hidden valleys, draws, and the occasional cactus and agave plant.

    Armed with compasses, maps, and protractors, the group was given a set of five specific waypoints and a time limit of three hours to find a minimum of four out of five targets. Once the clock started ticking, the Soldiers got to work, plotting points, shooting azimuths, and making their way across the inhospitable landscape.

    Hours later, it was once again Messenger who turned out on top, finding all five of his waypoints, some of which were spread out over 1100 meters apart. “I’ve done a lot of land navigation in the past and the practice really paid off here,” he said. “I’ve never done land navigation in open terrain like this before and it’s really challenging. You have to use your azimuths. It feels good to complete this and I’m having fun out here.”

    Another competitor who successfully navigated the course was Staff Sgt. Erik Guzman, an information technology staff noncommissioned officer and native of Austin, Texas, assigned to the 98th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 505th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, 335th SC (T). “It feels pretty good to complete this course,” he said. “It’s one of the harder courses I’ve faced. You have to deal with the terrain and the long distances between points and everything out here looks the same.”

    The first two events are now complete, but there is still a lot more challenges ahead for the warriors over the next four-day period. “I think this has been a lot more challenging than some of these competitors anticipated,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Philleo, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the 335th SC (T) Best Warrior Competition. “But, overall these guys are excited about the competition and it has gone really well so far.”



    Date Taken: 03.27.2017
    Date Posted: 03.27.2017 20:38
    Story ID: 228247
    Location: FORT HUACHUCA, AZ, US 

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