News: Ghost Riders compete in Best Warrior Competition
Story by Spc. Michael Gault
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Four soldiers from the 191st Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, ‘Ghost Riders’, competed in a grueling three-day test of skills relevant in today’s Army during the 96th Sustainment Brigade’s ‘2012 Best Warrior Competition’ held on 23-25 March at Fort Douglas, Utah.
“The Best Warrior Competition is a test of the contestants’ basic soldiering skills” said Pfc. Joseph S. McGrath, an intelligence analyst, resident of Ammon, Idaho. “The first task of every soldier is that of a warrior and that is exactly what the competition tests.”
At the start of the event, the competitors were given a modified APFT test where no rest between the events was permitted. Later, in their dress uniforms, they appeared before a board of noncommissioned officers headed by Command Sgt. Maj. Vicki Briggs, Command Sergeant Major of the 96th Sustainment Brigade to answer a battery of questions.
Bright and early the next morning, the Ghost Riders begin their day with the EST 2000, a computer simulated weapons qualification range, where they showed off their skills with the M4 at Camp Williams. Afterwards, they had to tackle land navigation. Given coordinates of four points, they had up to three hours to get to them, negotiating the hilly terrain of Camp Williams. Task stations, strategically and unexpectedly placed along their paths, served as distractions to their objective.
Immediately following land navigation, they went straight into a Warrior Task where they were presented with a box full of mixed weapons parts for a M9, M249 and the M16-A2. They had six minutes to assemble and do a proper functions check for all weapons.
“I was almost completely unprepared to do warrior tasks while negotiating the landnav course and the weapons assembly afterwards,” said Spc. Conor A. O'Farrell, a signal support system specialist, resident Pocatello, Idaho. “A hint as what to expect, would have been nice, but that wouldn't help evaluate what we knew.
To add to the challenge, the competitors’ seven mile road march was increased to 9.2 miles with a time limit of 2 hours, no running was allowed.
For the event finale, the warriors competed in an intense combatives tournament where they grappled and wrestled each other and other competitors, one on one, in a series of several matches. Intense and competitively fought, the matches were a spectacle to behold for both the judges and audience alike.
“Combatives was the most challenging event for me,” said Pfc. Justin P. Kelleher, a human resource specialist, resident of Salt Lake City, Utah. “It physically drains you and mentally psyches you out.”
Throughout the competition, the Ghost Riders were motivated, representing the 191st CSSB well by projecting positive competitive character.
“I am very proud of our Warriors and how well they have competed,” said Staff Sgt. Anthony C. Mutter, the command group liaison and a sponsor/trainer for the 191st CSSB competitors. “We could not have chosen a better group of Soldiers!”
Winners of this competition will compete in the 364th SSC BWC which will be held at Fort Lewis from April 12-16.