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    BAMC team wins Best Squad, Best Leader, Best Soldier at MRC, W competition

    MRC, W Best Leader/Best Squad Awards Ceremony

    Courtesy Photo | Army Brig. Gen. E. Darrin Cox, Medical Readiness Command, West commanding general, and...... read more read more



    Story by Lori Newman  

    Brooke Army Medical Center Public Affairs   

    JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas, May 22, 2024 – Medical Readiness Command, West held its Best Leader, Best Squad competition May 13-17.

    This year, MRC, W teamed up with the Medical Center of Excellence to hold the first consolidated competition where the competitors could also earn their Expert Field Medical Badge and the German Armed Forces Proficiency Badge.

    Army Brig. Gen. E. Darrin Cox, MRC, W commanding general, praised the BAMC, MRC, W and MEDCoE staffs for “going above and beyond” to make the combined effort a success.

    “This was truly an outstanding accomplishment,” Cox said. “Competitors, your commands are proud of the grit and determination you’ve exhibited here this week.”

    Thirteen teams from throughout the region vied for the Best Squad title and Brooke Army Medical Center took home the trophy for the second year in a row.

    “Throughout the intense and demanding competition, Team BAMC consistently demonstrated superior performance both individually, and as a squad,” said BAMC Command Sgt. Maj. John Dobbins.

    The BAMC team members who earned the title of Best Squad were Army 1st Lt. Conner Pedersen, Staff Sgt. Heaith Howe, Sgt. Benjamin Hill, Sgt. Samuel Siota, Spc. Nolan Wallace and Pfc. Jonathan Camarencarillo.
    Additionally, Pedersen was named Best Leader and Wallace was selected as Best Soldier, along with Army Staff Sgt. Eugene McLauren, from Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Cavazos, Texas, who was selected as the Best Noncommissioned Officer.

    “Events like these are more than winning a trophy or a title,” Cox said. “They are about practicing and demonstrating the skills that keep our Soldiers alive in the field. They are about realistic, train-as-you-fight scenarios to ensure a ready medical force.”

    MRC, W Command Sgt. Maj. Jennifer Francis agreed.

    “This environment has been carefully crafted to enhance rigor, realism, and relevance, not just for the sake of technical and tactical proficiencies, but to truly test your ability to perform under pressure,” she said. “We understand that this isn’t just about physical success - it’s about cultivating a warrior mindset that remains calm and focused, ready to save lives and return our warfighters to the battlefield. Every challenge you faced here is an opportunity to hone your abilities and become even stronger leaders and Soldiers.”

    Pederson said being a nurse was beneficial during the competition. “I consistently prioritize attention to detail and maintain unwavering focus during critical moments, and this competition epitomized that dedication.”

    Wallace was happy that the time and effort he put into preparing and training for the competition was not in vain. “The hard work that my squad and I put into this truly paid off,” he said.

    The Best Soldier winner said he enjoyed the stress shoot, litter run/obstacle course, and the final movement. “I enjoyed these events because I was with my team.”

    Pederson’s favorite event was the GAFPB stress shoot. “Additionally, collaborating with my squad was a pleasure, as each member showcased exceptional talent.”

    “Maintaining focus on the mission despite minimal sleep proved to be the most challenging aspect,” Pederson added. “However, I found great excitement in the opportunity to simulate real-world scenarios.”

    “The hardest part to me was the GAFPB swim,” Wallace said. “I’m not the fastest swimmer so trying to make it in time for that was difficult.”
    Several Soldiers also earned the GAFPB.

    Bundeswehrkommando German Staff Officer Col. Mohammed Nasri praised the competitors for their efforts.

    “We all know how difficult – how many tears, blood, and sweat you left there on the field to get this badge,” he said. “We are very proud to hand over this (badge) today.”

    Narsi said it’s mandatory for every German soldier to test for the GAFPB annually. To receive the badge the candidate must pass a rigorous physical fitness assessment, swim test, demonstrate proficiency in marksmanship, first aid and complete a 9-kilometer foot march.

    The GAFPB has three levels of proficiency -- bronze, silver, and gold. Each badge is numbered to show how many times a candidate achieved the badge.

    Nine competitors received bronze, 20 received silver and only two got the gold – Sgt. Jose Dominguez, Bayne Jones Army Community Hospital, Fort Johnson, Louisiana; and Howe from BAMC.

    “We couldn’t be prouder of each one of you, and look forward to seeing you tackle even greater challenges in the future,” Francis said.
    Wallace’s advice to future competitors was to “be patient and train hard.”

    “It took me almost 2 years at this unit before I had an opportunity to compete in best squad,” Wallace said. “Training while working in the hospital can be difficult, luckily, we had the support of our hospital command team which allowed us the time to train when needed.”

    “Maintain focus and excel in every position you find yourself in,” Pederson added. “Aim for excellence while remaining humble throughout the journey.”

    The winners of the MRC, W Best Leader/Best Squad competition will go on to compete at the Army Medical Command level and possibly the at the Army level later this year.


    Date Taken: 05.22.2024
    Date Posted: 05.22.2024 14:18
    Story ID: 472011

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