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    Best Warrior: A contest of wills

    Military Police Best Warrior Competition

    Photo By Master Sgt. Michel Sauret | Sgt. David Gutierrez, a U.S. Army Reserve military police Soldier with the 422nd...... read more read more



    Story by Master Sgt. Michel Sauret  

    200th Military Police Command

    FORT HUNTER LIGGETT, Calif. — As soon as he found out that he won the “Best Warrior” title for his command, Sgt. David Gutierrez had one thought on his mind: Sleep.

    The competition lasted four days, but from the beginning, there seemed to be no rest in sight.

    “It was very demanding. There were a lot of events. Lack of sleep. Being able to push through everything, to endure and find the perseverance, it was definitely a challenge,” said Gutierrez, who is a U.S. Army Reserve military police Soldier with the 422nd MP Company, headquartered in Bakersfield, California.

    This victory made Gutierrez the top Soldier in the 200th Military Police Command, which the largest military police organization in the department of defense, with a footprint of roughly 14,000 Soldiers. The competition lasted from April 16-19, 2018. Each Best Warrior Competition brings winners from multiple units and commands to compete at the next higher level, much like a playoff run to the Super Bowl. The highest level is an Army-wide competition, and with this win, Gutierrez conquered a major hurdle in that journey.

    In his civilian life, Gutierrez works behind the deli counter of a grocery store, and his ambition is to become a police officer, like his brother, Paul-Michael, who works for the Los Angeles Police Department.

    “It’s something that my brother and I have always been interested in ever since growing up. I’m not the type of person who is motivated by money. I’m merely motivated by a sense of duty. I have that as a drive and motivation for me: Just that willingness to serve. Serve my community. Serve my country,” said Gutierrez, who is currently from Sunland, California.

    That self-motivation, he said, is what pushed him through the competition, which included an 11-mile ruck march through the steep and winding roads of Fort Hunter Liggett, a 200-meter swim test, several miles of land navigation both in the heat of day and in the dropping temperatures of night, combat scenarios engaging enemy gunfire, giving medical care and rescue to wounded Soldiers, weapons qualification, a physical fitness test, written essays, and finally facing the scariest sight of all: a panel of command sergeants major grilling competitors on their Army knowledge and military bearing.

    "That's how we do it! We're commanding the best and serving the best," said Command Sgt. Maj. Craig Owens, command sergeant major of the 200th MP Command, regarding the intensity and difficulty of the competition, wanting to ensure that whoever wins at his command represents well at the next level.

    “It’s a contest of wills,” said Sgt. 1st Class Luke Klein, a cadre member who supported the competition. “Soldiers put their entire heart on the line, giving everything they’ve got, because if you don’t, you’re not going to make it through the competition. You’ve got to pour everything you have. You’re going to be sweating. You’re going to be hurting.”

    The attrition rate eliminated about half of the competitors as twisted ankles, painful blisters, and other events sent some Soldiers packing. For Gutierrez, his rest and recovery will last only so long, as he prepares to compete at the U.S. Army Reserve Command in a few months. In the last ten years, at least three Army Reserve winners have gone on to win the whole show Army-wide.

    Now, Gutierrez has that opportunity.

    “It’s a good honor. I wasn’t expecting it, honestly, but when you’re putting in your best, anything can happen,” he said.



    Date Taken: 05.06.2018
    Date Posted: 05.08.2018 09:59
    Story ID: 275883
    Hometown: BAKERSFIELD, CA, US
    Hometown: SUNLAND, CA, US

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