Carson’s best battle III Corps elite
July 7, 2011
FORT HOOD, Texas -- The III Armor Corps’ Best Warrior Competition 2011 took place at Fort Hood, Texas, June 27-29 as two Fort Carson warriors took on Soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood, Mo.; Fort Sill, Okla.; Fort Riley, Kan.; and Fort Bliss, Texas, for Best Warrior bragging rights and a chance to compete at the Forces Command competition in July.
Sgt. Julie Foster, 759th Military Police Battalion and this year’s 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson Noncommissioned Officer of the Year; and Sgt. Thomas Collier, 3rd Battalion, 16th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. and 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson Soldier of the Year, represented Fort Carson at the competition.
“It started off with a conversation with my first sergeant,” said Foster, 28. “I said, ‘no, that’s not what the regulation says, first sergeant.’ And, he said, ‘if you’re so smart, then you need to be going to the board.’ That’s really where it all started.”
Foster competed in the rank of specialist at company, battalion and division level boards, winning all of them. Shortly after, she was promoted to sergeant and had to start over. She swept all three levels again at the NCO level.
This year’s Best Warrior Competition at Fort Hood began with skills testing and weapons qualification. The Soldiers and NCOs were divided into two groups; NCOs started the day with skills testing and the Soldiers began with weapons qualification.
Foster’s first test required her to issue a warning order.
“(My first sergeant) had me writing (operations orders) all weekend,” said Foster. “So, when I found out what my first test was, I knew I had it.”
That morning she called in a nine-line medevac, called for fire and correctly negotiated an M256 kit " a kit used to identify possible chemical contamination in the air. Her final test challenged her to correctly assemble five different weapons systems starting with a pile of parts mixed together in a large box, something Collier and the rest of the competitors also had to do.
Collier, 23, started his day at the weapons zero and qualification ranges.
“The smoke made it difficult to see the targets,” he said.
The range cadre, using smoke canisters, artillery simulators and loudspeakers blaring music and machine gun fire, wanted to stress the competitors by creating a warlike environment as they concentrated on hitting their targets.
“The noise really added to the challenge,” said Collier.
The next morning the NCOs and Soldiers took their Army Physical Fitness Test and prepared for the board proceedings where their military knowledge was tested. Categories included wear and appearance of the uniform, the U.S. Constitution, current events, the Code of Conduct, land navigation, field sanitation, first aid and other general military subjects.
The final day started with the written test consisting of 50 questions and concluded with the banquet where this year’s winners were announced.
“The test was very deployment oriented,” said Foster. She also said she believed the board proceedings and the written test would weigh the most on the final outcome of the competition.
“They’ve dedicated themselves to being better Soldiers and NCOs,” said Senior Mission Command Sgt. Maj. John Kurak, 4th Inf. Div. and Fort Carson, who served as a board member during the competition at Fort Hood. “Just competing at this level gives them the wherewithal to go back and develop and train their Soldiers. They can be proud.”
And, although neither Foster nor Collier walked away with the III Corps title, they both seemed to appreciate the journey.
“I’m very proud to have been chosen to represent my unit and Fort Carson at the III Corps competition,” said Collier. “You’ve got to be an overall, well-rounded Soldier.”
“Competing in this competition as a female was very important to me,” said Foster. “It shows I’m just as capable as the males to carry out the mission. I absolutely love the Army, I’m dedicated to it and everything I do, I give 100 percent.”
Sgt. 1st Class Arron S. Barnes, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 31st Air Defense Artillery Brigade, Fort Bliss, is this year’s III Armor Corps Best Warrior Noncommissioned Officer. Spc. Jonathan P. Woodfield, Alpha Battery, 4th Battalion, 3rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Fort Sill, won the Best Soldier Warrior. Both will compete at the FORSCOM competition at Fort Hood later this month.
The winners of that competition will go on to represent Forces Command at the Army Best Warrior Competition later this year.