FORT BRAGG, N.C. - “Is this one under or over?” asked Pfc. Joseph Cables, a finance specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command (Airborne), while trying to move forward as he approached the next bar on the Weaver obstacle as part of the Air Assault Obstacle Course here.
For the soldiers of HHC, spring time means competing for the right to be called the Best Warrior.
These warriors are finely tuning their soldier skills to see who will eventually be the top noncommissioned officer and top soldier for HHC.
Being top NCO or top soldier is about more than the competition itself. At the very core, the competition is about training and learning new things from fellow soldiers.
“I had a couple of tips [on the rope climb] from the other competitors,” remarked Spc. Amanda Sharp, a civil affairs specialist with HHC. “They were helping me out and showed me a couple of different techniques.”
Many competitors, expressed feelings of camaraderie rather than rivalry while competing.
“My favorite part of the competition is just being out here representing G-3 [operations section] air and having the other competitors rooting you on and not feeling like they’re your enemies or anything,” Sharp added. “They’re just helping out.”
An added bonus of the competition is the development of personal and professional skills. Besides the educational experience of learning new things and the physical aspect of competing in rigorous events, for the competitors it was about developing further as a soldier in all aspects.
“Either way, competition or training, it doesn’t matter who you’re competing against,” stated Cables. “You’re doing it for yourself, not to beat other people. It’s beneficial to you and whoever you’re working with in the future, whether it’s out in the field or here at home.”
Competing in the Best Warrior Competition is not just something to win, but an opportunity to gain experience as a soldier and a way to test oneself on basic soldier knowledge and skills.
“Whether you’re in first place or you’re at the bottom, you’re going to get a lot out of it,” said Staff Sgt. Michael May, a supply specialist with HHC.“It’s going to make you a more well-rounded soldier or NCO.”
“Regardless of where you are in the competition, Best Warrior Competitions are going to make you know your regulations, know your physical fitness level, know what you need to improve on, and know what you can keep and sustain,” explained May.
The winners of the HHC Best Warrior Competition were Staff Sgt. Michael May as the Best Noncommissioned Officer of the Year and Pfc. Joseph Cables as the Best Soldier of the Year.
Even though this competition is over it doesn’t mean it is the end of training for them. May and Cables will compete in the USACAPOC(A) command level Best Warrior Competition in April at Fort Hunter Liggett, Calif. They walk away knowing what they need to work and improve on while maintaining physical fitness as well as keeping their minds sharp.
“I think my physicality is one of my strengths,” said May. “But everything can use improvement no matter what. My fitness level … it’s a lot of cross-fit style training, and that’s what I need to focus on, but being fatigued from the day before and being able to come in under three hours on an EIB [Expert Infantry Badge] 12-mile standard road march was challenging. It surprised me, but it was a good gut check.”