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    Navy beats Army in annual Best Warrior Competition

    Navy beats Army in annual Best Warrior Competition

    Courtesy Photo | Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Michael O’Connell, a special operations independent duty...... read more read more

    JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, UNITED STATES

    05.03.2024

    Story by Malcolm McClendon 

    Naval Medical Forces Development Command

    JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO – Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Michael O’Connell took first place in the noncommissioned officer category at this year’s U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School Best Warrior Competition held at Camp Mackall, North Carolina, April 2024.

    O’Connell, a special operations independent duty corpsman and instructor with the Naval Special Operations Medical Institute at the Joint Special Operations Medical Training Center, said he was honored to be competing and showing his fellow Army service members that a guy from the Navy can hang.

    “I was trained in Marine Corps Reconnaissance and Marine Special Operations Command skill sets, so the tasks required of me during this competition were of a familiar and basic nature,” O’Connell said. “I did have to learn several Army concepts and regulations for the oral board component of this competition.”

    The competition is an Army event designed to test competitor’s tactical and technical skills in marksmanship, combat casualty care and land navigation, as well as challenge their physical fitness and endurance.

    As the only Sailor, O’Connell competed against seven other best warriors and said he was proud to be able to have represented the Navy, because although small, their footprint is significant for the USAJFKSWCS.

    “We [NSOMI] train medical professionals to support United States Special Operations Command missions worldwide,” he said.

    The Naval Special Operations Medical Institute prepares corpsmen for the United States Marine Forces Special Operations Command and Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance. The institute also partners with the Special Warfare Medical Group (Airborne) to train special operations combat medics with the United States Army Special Operations Command Special Forces and Rangers, 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment (Airborne), Civil Affairs, Allied Special Operations Forces Command and selected government organizations.

    “I’ve been spending a lot of time instructing students, so I haven’t had the chance to practice and use my Marine/Solider skills,” O’Connell said. “I was glad to get back out there and see where my individual weaknesses lie and perform at a level that I haven’t been able to do since rotating to my shore duty.”

    As the only Sailor, O’Connell said he felt like an outsider. However, never once did he feel that he wasn’t accepted by his fellow competitors.

    “Everyone I interacted with throughout the competition showed a lot of enthusiasm and excitement for my participation,” O’Connell said. “I think they really appreciated me more as I started to show some promise of excelling.”

    Master Chief Petty Officer Shawn Pittman, NSOMI’s senior enlisted leader, was not surprised at the outcome of the competition.

    “O’Connell exemplifies the quintessential Navy Corpsman,” Pittman said. “His work ethic is unparalleled, and he is dedicated to training the next generation of special operations independent duty corpsman and medics to meet and defeat any challenge they face.”

    At the awards ceremony following the competition, Command Sgt. Maj. Strong, USAJFKSWCS’s senior enlisted leader, awarded O’Connell with an Army Commendation Medal for his first-place win.

    “I never once thought that I had this competition in the bag,” O’Connell said. “What I would say to future Sailors wanting to compete in the BWC is to train hard and prepare thoroughly. I think the Army is going to put their best foot forward next year to regain the title.

    The Naval Special Operations Medical Institute is a detachment of the Navy Medicine Operational Training Command. The Command oversees six detachments and 12 training centers, with facilities in over 60 locations across the United States. These facilities support training programs in aviation, surface and undersea warfare, expeditionary forces, and special operations, providing medical training for the Navy, other U.S. armed forces, and allied nations.

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.03.2024
    Date Posted: 05.03.2024 13:38
    Story ID: 470254
    Location: JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, US

    Web Views: 1,838
    Downloads: 2

    PUBLIC DOMAIN