Photos & Story by Sgt. Jennifer Johnson, JFHQ NCR/MDW Public Affairs
While temperatures rose to more than 100 degrees, six NCO’s and six junior Soldiers participated in the U.S. Army Military District of Washington‘s Best Warrior Competition (BWC), at Fort A.P. Hill Va. July 18 – 22.
The winners of this year’s MDW BWC are Sgt. 1st Class Chad Stackpole, Tomb of the Unknowns Sergeant of the Guard, and Spc. Casey Hargaden, infantryman, 1st Battalion. Both Soldiers are currently in the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard).
During the competition, Soldiers test their Army aptitude, conquering urban warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams, and Warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today’s operating environment.
Over the course of three days, 12 Soldiers were tested on their performance of the Army Physical Fitness Test, military appearance board, various mystery events, weapons qualification, day and night land navigation, written exams, and Warrior task testing lanes.
Sgt Joshua Blue, 1st Battalion BWC Cadre said he was looking for the Soldiers to be able to complete the warrior tasks in a precise and timely manner. “The lack of sleep, high temperatures and non-stop adrenaline rushes help determine the outcome of who will ultimately be the Best Warrior for the Military District of Washington,” said Blue.
Competitors engaged numerous basic level Warrior tasks and drills. Administering first aid to CPR manikins, properly performing camouflage techniques to prevent detection, reacting to a possible Improvised Explosive Device (IED), reflexive fire training required for short-range marksmanship, engaging targets with a hand grenade, and requesting a 9 Line medical evacuation.
Sgt. Matthew Rossi, a BWC competitor from MDW Headquarters, said he thought it was a great competition between great Soldiers. “It was physically and mentally demanding,” said Rossi.
Aside from competing, Soldiers only discovered just prior to each event what the next one would be. Although the schedule was known to the Staff on site, competitors would find out what the following event would be just prior to the task in order to give them very little time to prepare, keeping the testing close to realistic applications of the skills in combat.
“You never knew exactly what was coming up next, always kept us on our toes.” said Rossi. “Definitely made us think on the run.”
“Self-motivation in my inner core,” said Staff Sgt. Heibert Quintero, White House Communications Agency assistant noncommissioned officer in charge. “It’s what drove me to attempt this competition. My awareness skills and reaction time increase each and every day. I’m glad I had the opportunity to compete against such high caliber warriors.”
The winners of the MDW competition will now go on to compete in the Department of the Army’s BWC in October 2011.