Aviators compete to surpass their peers
April 6, 2014
Soldiers from 2nd Combat Aviation Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, competed in the Best Warrior Competition March 24-27 on Camp Humphreys, South Korea.
The individual competition was to test the Soldiers' ability to perform with their peers physically, mentally and tactically. There were four categories of competitors: commissioned officers, non-commissioned officers, Soldiers and Korean Augmentees to the U. S. Army.
The competition is a Department of the Army annual competition where Soldiers from 12 major commands across the Army compete in hopes of making it to Fort Lee, Va., where the final competition is held.
The competitors were tested on Army knowledge, warrior tasks and battle drills, rifle marksmanship, physical fitness and their appearance in front of a board.
On day one, the competition began with the Army Physical Fitness Test. Immediately following the APFT, Soldiers began a six-mile ruck march carrying an M-16 rifle and a ruck sack full of gear. As competitors finished ruck marching, they had to complete various exercises with their weapons until it was time to qualify at the range.
"It was pretty difficult to do a PT test and go straight into a ruck march," said Cpl. David Cotton, a Los Angeles native and a power generation equipment repairer, assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd CAB. "At about the third mile into the ruck march, I started running out of gas and had to pace myself to make it through."
After a physically draining first day, the second day proved to be just as, if not more, difficult.
On day two of the competition, Soldiers were evaluated on operating a single-channel radio, land navigation, operation of chemical masks, first aid and how to request a medical evacuation.
After two days of grueling physical tasks, the competitors were rewarded with a day of rest. Many used the time to study and continue preparing their Army Service Uniforms for the upcoming board. Soldiers went before a board of command sergeants major and a first sergeant from within the brigade, during the final portion of the competition.
"The most challenging part of the competition was appearing before the board," said Copperas Cove, Texas native Sgt. Marshall Duran, an aircraft power plant repairer assigned to Co. C, 602nd Avn. Support Battalion. "Being put on the spot and not messing up was on my mind throughout the board. I wanted to do my best and set a good example for my Soldiers."
Board members tallied results and announced the winners of the competition. Four Soldiers were presented coins for their success and will advance to the 2nd Inf. Div. Best Warrior Competition in April.
"It was a very challenging week for me," said Spc. Raul E. Garza, a flight medic assigned to Co. C, 3rd General Spt. Avn. Bn., from Spring, Texas. "I spent long days in the books trying to soak in as much as I could. Participating in this competition really increased my motivation to want to accomplish more in the division competition and in the Army. I gained more self-esteem competing."
2014 2nd CAB Best Warrior Competition Winners:
Officer - Cpt. Preston Collich, assigned to HSC, 4th Attack Reconnaissance Bn., 2nd Avn. Regiment.
NCO - Sgt. Marshall Duran, assigned to Co. B, 602nd Avn. Spt. Bn.
Soldier - Spc. Raul Garza, assigned to Co. C, 3rd Gen. Spt. Avn. Bn., 2nd Avn. Regt.
KATUSA - Cpl. Jang, Han Ho, assigned to Co. A, 3rd Gen. Spt