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    Dülmen MPs win during USAG Benelux Best Warrior

    Smith takes the written portion

    Photo By Christophe Morel | CHIÈVRES, Belgium – Spc. Arnando Smith, a mid-shift patrol for DES at Chièvres Air...... read more read more



    Story by Bryan Gatchell 

    U.S. Army Garrison Benelux

    CHIÈVRES, Belgium – After a week competing against their garrison peers, two U.S. Army Garrison Benelux Soldiers from Army Prepositioned Stock Site (APS-2) Dülmen in Germany earned the titles of Soldier and noncommissioned officer of the year during the garrison’s Best Warrior Competition Jan. 28 at Chièvres Air Base, Belgium.

    Spc. Hunter Tinsley, member of the Directorate of Emergency Services’ military police, earned the title of “Soldier of the Year,” Sgt. Isaac Mayfield, team lead for DES at APS-2 Dülmen, earned “NCO of the Year,” and both will move on to compete at the Installation Management Command – Europe level.

    Mayfield felt the competition was not just a contest of physical strength and mental agility but of will and determination.

    “This competition is supposed to be taxing on you,” said Mayfield. “It’s called ‘the Best Warrior’ for a reason. It’s definitely something you have to come in mentally and physically tough for. And if you have any doubts in your mind about it, then you’re automatically just going to fail.”

    Soldiers and noncommissioned officers took part in the competition based on whether they were the Soldiers or noncommissioned officers of their month and their quarter for their location in the garrison. Beside the two winners from APS-Dülmen, competitors hailed from Chièvres Air Base and Brussels Site in Belgium and Brunssum Site and JFC Brunssum in the Netherlands. Most of the competitors were from the military police of the Directorate of Emergency Services, and one was a religious affairs specialist who works at JFC Brunssum.

    “They definitely strove hard to show us that ‘They do work, and they deliver,’” said USAG Benelux Command Sgt. Maj. Katrina Herzfeld. “I am honored to have Sergeant Mayfield and Specialist Tinsley represent the Benelux in March.”

    Herzfeld said Best Warrior is important for a variety of reasons.

    “It tests our Soldiers and NCOs on their physical strength, mental agility, endurance, courage, tactical skills, military knowledge, and most importantly, their heart,” said Herzfeld. “Across the Benelux, on any given day, a Soldier and/or NCO is preparing to compete. They are studying and working out. All in the hopes of becoming the USAG Benelux Best Warrior. This competition not only encouraged the professional growth of these eight but all Soldiers assigned to USAG Benelux. It creates a sense of esprit de corps within the unit as the sites root for their representatives.”

    And although the different sites of the garrison may have rooted for their own, the competition gave its contestants the opportunities to know each other better.

    “I’ve made a couple new friends here since the start of the competition,” said Sgt. Michael Sanabria, an investigator and desk sergeant at the Brunssum Site and a native of Brookville, Pennsylvania. “It’s nice to see how everyone’s doing at their respective locations – just kind of talk and share our experiences. I think it’s been a really good team-building experience during our downtime.”

    “It’s definitely good to come together,” said Staff Sgt. Devon Bowman, a desk sergeant and squad leader at Brussels Site and native of Columbus, Georgia. “There are a couple of NCOs I haven’t seen since I went to (advanced operations course) over a year ago. So it’s good to venture out.”

    Pfc. Joseph Prest, the religious affairs specialist at JFC Brunssum, whose hometown is Carbondale, Illinois, appreciated how much he got to interact with his fellow Soldiers.

    “It’s nice to learn from them, model from them, and pick their brain,” said Prest.

    The four day competition included warrior tasks and drills; a foot march; land navigation; chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear lanes; a written essay; weapons draw; boards; and more. During one event, competitors had to assemble a disassembled weapon. During another event, competitors had to perform a modified Murphy challenge, in which they ran, did pushups, pullups, air squats and ran more.

    “The Murphy was pretty challenging,” said Bowman. “It was a long day we already had with the ruck march and multiple Combat Lifesaving lanes. It made it more stressful on the body.”

    Two other Soldiers felt the Murphy challenge to be the toughest part of the competition. A few said it was the medical lane. Others said the board on the final day of competition was the most difficult. Spc. Arnando Smith, a mid-shift patrol for DES at Chièvres Air Base, whose hometown is Atlanta, cited the board among the other stressors of the competition.

    “It’s the mental strain, the lack of sleep, getting ready for the board and going amongst people who severely outrank you,” said Smith. “You really realize what you don’t know, and it pushes you to do better.”

    “It kind of put me in the perspective of where I was physically, mentally as well,” said Spc. Adonis Singletary, an investigator with DES at the Brussels Site, whose hometown is Seaside, California. “It really challenged me to think outside the box and to think on the fly.”

    Tinsley, a native of Tahlequah, Oklahoma, will take part at the next level of the competition. He also appreciated how the contest served to assess him as a Soldier.

    “I just need to go to a gym more, do more physical stuff, running, rucking, studying up more Army knowledge,” he said of the upcoming competition. “Since it’s a bigger event, I need to also study up more on weapons.”

    The IMCOM-E Best Warrior Competition, which is set to take place at the end of February and beginning of March at USAG Ansbach in Germany, will pit both Tinsley and Mayfield against the best Soldiers and NCOs of the other six Army garrisons in Europe. Mayfield, a native of Platte City, Missouri, felt competing against his fellow Soldiers at this garrison was difficult, and will seek to improve before the next iteration of competition.

    “My peers are very knowledgeable and well-rounded,” he said. “There’s a lot I can improve on and then definitely get my physical fitness back where it needs to be.”

    Others in the competition, though they may not have won, still found the competition valuable.

    “I pushed myself to see what I was capable of,” said Sgt. Christopher Arcia, a desk sergeant and noncommissioned officer in charge of desk sergeants at Chièvres Air Base. “I didn’t really think I was actually ever going to be able to compete in a Best Warrior competition. This was my first Best Warrior Competition. I’m glad I did it, and I’d like to do it again and see if I could win next time.

    “If you don’t make it, it’s okay,” continued Arcia, who is a native of Santa Clarita, California. “Just keep on pushing through. Failure only makes you stronger.”

    Herzfeld said the competitors exemplified the Warrior Ethos of “I will always place the mission first; I will never accept defeat; I will never quit, and I will never leave a fallen comrade.”

    “I am proud of all my competitors,” said Herzfeld. “They were pushed to what they thought were their limits and kept going past that point. No one gave up. They encouraged one another and grew together as a team.”

    “Stay motivated,” said Singletary. “There’s a lot of times when you’re going to face obstacles. There’s a lot of times you’ll have to do things you don’t want to do, but once you’re there, you might as well do the best you can.”



    Date Taken: 02.01.2021
    Date Posted: 02.01.2021 10:02
    Story ID: 388058
    Location: CHIEVRES, WHT, BE 
    Hometown: ATLANTA, GA, US
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    Hometown: CARBONDALE, IL, US
    Hometown: COLUMBUS, GA, US
    Hometown: PLATTE CITY, MO, US
    Hometown: SANTA CLARITA, CA, US
    Hometown: SEASIDE, CA, US
    Hometown: TAHLEQUAH, OK, US

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