Warrior Citizen tackles competition, saves lives
March 21, 2014
Fort Knox, Ky. (March 20, 2014) -- Knowing how to save a fellow Soldier's life in combat is one thing Sgt. Aaron Cooper is trained to do, and he uses these Army skills daily to save the lives of strangers in Wisconsin.
As a civilian, Cooper works as an emergency medical technician at a level one trauma center, but as a Warrior Citizen he serves as a combat medic instructor with the 8/100th Regiment, 4th Brigade, 100th Training Division.
"Being an EMT and a combat medic pretty much go hand-in-hand, but the Army is seen as its own entity in the National Registry of Emergency Technicians," said Cooper referring to the certification status registry of the National Emergency Medical Services Certification organization. "There are things I can do as a combat medic that I can't legally do in my state."
Cooper is competing in the 80th Training Command (TASS) annual Best Warrior Competition here March 17-21.
Hosted by the 100th Training Division, the BWC tests Soldiers in various military aspects such as physical fitness, weapons handling, rifle and pistol marksmanship, drill and ceremony, land navigation, and first aid.
On day 4, Cooper, along with 14 other competitors, tackled the land navigation course during the day and have to do the same course at night.
"The Best Warrior competition is extremely challenging, both physically and mentally," Cooper said. "During the day land navigation course, I found three of my four points and came in first."
When asked if he was nervous about doing as well during the night land navigation he jokingly said that "I've got a flashlight and whistle with two spare pair of batteries, so I'm ready."
According to his sponsor, Sgt. 1st Class Ben Pusakusich, Cooper is doing great in the competition.
"He kicked butt on the physical fitness test and hit almost all of his targets on the M9 range," Pusakusich said, who provides support in all aspects for Cooper during the competition.
"I'm here to help him out to give him the bullets, band-aids and gummy bears...whatever he needs," he added. "Competitors need to focus on the competition and not worry about logistics or administrative items, that's why I'm here."
Although this BWC focuses on identifying the best competitors in the enlisted and noncommissioned officer categories to represent the 80th TC in the United States Army Reserve Command Best Warrior Competition, Cooper found how this competition will help him in his civilian life.
"This competition emphasizes resilience," he said. "This is a fast, paced competition that requires you to push through no matter what."
"As an EMT, I have to deal with patients who sometimes press your nerves because the patient doesn't want your help," Cooper added. "I know that no matter what I need resilience because I am making a difference and saving lives."
Visit the 80th TC website and social media sites throughout the week for up-to-date coverage of the event: www.army.mil/80thtngcmd, www.facebook.com/80thTNGCMD, and www.twitter.com/80thTNGCMD.