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    Signal Command Soldiers continue to test warrior skills

    Cleaning up

    Photo By Sgt. 1st Class Brent Powell | Army Reserve Spc. Josue Mendez (left), a information systems technician and native of...... read more read more



    Story by Sgt. 1st Class Brent Powell 

    335th Signal Command (Theater)

    Fort Huachuca, Arizona – A constant, cool, biting wind, partial cloudy skies and Soldiers putting rounds down range set the tone for day two of the 335th Signal Command’s (Theater) 2017 Best Warrior Competition here.

    After a brutal first day comprised of an Army Physical Fitness Test, and both day and night land navigation courses, the field of competitors has been whittled down from eleven to eight.

    For those still standing, the second day of competition began with a trip to the weapons range where the first order of business was zeroing their M16A2 rifles.

    Once the group had their weapons sighted in, they moved over to the qualification range to fire at pop-up targets that ranged at distances from 50 to 300 yards. However, before they even had a chance to put their sights on the targets, they faced a mystery event.

    “Mystery events are designed to help tighten the competition,” said Staff Sgt. Jason Philleo, noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the 335th SC (T) Best Warrior Competition. “Today we gave the Soldiers two weapons platforms to assemble under a time limit. If they succeeded in putting both weapons together and correctly performed a functions check, then they were awarded two points.”

    Each Soldier was given eight minutes to assemble both a M16A2 rifle and a M9 9mm pistol. Most Soldiers were familiar with the M16A2 and successfully assembled it with little to no problem. However, assembling the M9 pistol caught a lot of the competitors off-guard, including Sgt. Alexandro Magana, a cable systems installer/maintainer and native of Redding, Pennsylvania, assigned to Company B, 392nd Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 335th SC (T). “I had never reassembled a pistol,” he said. “I have shot a 40 caliber pistol before, but I had never taken it apart. I tried to put the M9 together, but just ran out of time before I could figure it out.”

    Some of the warriors did quite well on the challenge, including Spc. Julian Ditona, a multi-channel transmission systems operator/maintainer, assigned to the 98th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 335th SC (T), who completed the tasks in just over two-minutes (the fastest time of the day). “I spent a lot of time practicing and preparing for this with my unit,” he said. “A lot of my knowledge comes from the help my battalion gave me.”

    With the mystery event complete, the Soldiers geared up and did their best to knock down the targets on the pop-up target range. Each Soldier was given 40 rounds of ammunition and 40 targets to engage, and they had to hit a minimum of 23 targets to stay in the competition.

    “This has definitely been a proving ground for these competitors,” said Philleo. “I think it has shown that as reservists we need to get back to focusing on our basic infantry skills. This competition has been an eye-opener for some of these Soldiers, but they are staying motivated and they are all pushing themselves hard.”

    Although the field of competitors continues to narrow, the competition will not get any easier, and those remaining after the sun sets on day two will still have a mountain of challenges waiting for them over the course of the next three days.

    “Everyone in the Army is an infantry Soldier and this is a super important part of the job,” said Philleo. “The end goal of this competition is to see who not only is a good Soldier, but who is a Soldier’s Soldier that can do it all.”



    Date Taken: 03.28.2017
    Date Posted: 03.29.2017 00:46
    Story ID: 228393
    Location: FORT HUACHUCA, AZ, US 

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