Top-notch Soldiers represent U.S. Army Africa in Best Warrior Competition
August 10, 2011
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany " Going for the coveted U.S. Army Europe NCO and Soldier of the Year title, two U.S. Army Africa Soldiers, Sgt. Benjamin J. Carpenter, operations sergeant, and Cpl. Benjamin J. Roalson, supply clerk, participated in the 2011 U.S. Army Europe Best Warrior Competition in Grafenwoehr, Germany, July 24- 28.
The competition consisted of events that challenged the competitors’ military knowledge, warrior skills, and physical endurance " an Army Physical Fitness Test, obstacle course, military board and uniform inspection, weapons qualification at the Engagement Skills Trainer 2000, HMMWV evacuation at the HMMWV Egress Assistance Trainer, military operations on urban terrain site and land navigation.
Roalson, whose daily duties includes paperwork, seemed excited about the opportunity to test his abilities in the competition. He said because of the nature of his job, he doesn’t get a chance to do a lot of training they did during the competition in Grafenwoehr.
Carpenter said that he feels confident about his chances in the competition since he is familiar with a lot of the tasks set through the memorandum of instruction. He said that both he and Roalson have been given ample time off from work by their first sergeant to study and prepare for the competition.
USARAF’s Command Sgt. Maj. Hu Rhodes, said U.S. Army Africa, formerly known as the Southern European Task Force, had local competitions where the winners would compete at the Department of the Army competitions. Now competitors compete at the U.S. Army Europe competition, which is a more demanding competition.
For example, the fourth day of the competition, which starts at 5:45 a.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m., consists of more than 15 events starting out with military operations on urban terrain training, goes into several warrior tasks and ends with a 10-kilometer foot march.
“The opportunity to compete against Europe is in itself a compliment of the capability of our two Soldiers,” Rhodes said.
Both Soldiers seem grateful and pleasantly surprised that their chain of command specifically picked them to represent USARAF. “I’m glad that my leaders have that kind of confidence in me and my abilities,” Roalson said.
“Any of these Soldiers on any given day can win this event,” Rhodes said. “The winners will be the ones who get a lucky break or peak at the right time. In a broader sense, all of these NCOs and Soldiers are already winners,” he said.
Rhodes said that as much as he wants Carpenter and Roalson to win, what he really wants is for them to inspire, coach, teach and mentor the competitors for next year.
“As the sergeant major, I am very proud of Sgt. Carpenter and Cpl. Roalson for representing U.S. Army Africa at this event,” Rhodes said.
The winners of the 2011 Best Warrior Competition will be recognized Aug. 11 during a luncheon in Heidelberg, Germany.