Fort Huachuca to name 'best warriors'
February 10, 2012
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- On Feb. 10, during the Fort Huachuca Installation Awards Banquet, attendees will learn the identities of Fort Huachuca's best warriors of the year. Although the contest took place Jan. 24 through Friday, the winners won't know who they are until the announcement is made. For two weeks, they remain in suspense.
Nine Soldiers competed for the titles. The contestants participated in 10 events over three days.
During the Army physical fitness test, the Soldiers had two minutes to do as many push ups as possible, two minutes to do as many sit-ups as possible and complete a two-mile run in 32-to-34-degree weather.
Then the competitors had warrior tasks and drills, which consisted of six different tasks: perform first aid for the bleeding of an extremity; evaluate a casualty; request medical evacuation; comply with the requirements for a specific code of conduct; send a situation report; and employ progress levels of individual force when confronting civilians.
Next they had daytime land navigation, during which they had to find five points in four hours and nighttime land navigation, where their mission was to locate three points in three hours. After completing the navigation portion, the Soldiers had limited hours of sleep available before they had to be back to conduct a 12-mile tactical road march, which had to be completed in 4 hours and 36 minutes.
"We factored in sleep deprivation to make the challenge more difficult," said Master Sgt. Paul Harris, who was the contest events creator and action officer for this year's competition. The Soldiers who participated in this competition are the best from their individual units on Fort Huachuca and won a similar competition at their unit level before advancing to the installation-level competition.
"The 12-mile march and night[time] land navigation were challenging because of the terrain and they were both in the dark," said Sgt. 1st Class John Zehring, 18th Military Police Detachment and a participant.
Then the competitors took their shot at the range, followed by a written exam and essay. On the last day, the Soldiers were interviewed by the board of judges. Each Soldier also took part in a mystery event, at a level of difficulty based on their ranks.
"I don't quit -- it's that simple. I'm not going to say I am the best warrior out here or anything like that, but I am going to give it my best and see what happens," said Sgt. John Batemon, Company B, 304th Military Intelligence Battalion, 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, while showing off his blisters after the road march.
"It is an honor to be here. I volunteered to be here. I think the teamwork is great; even though we are competing against one another, we still helped each other out, it's pretty awesome," said Sgt. Rusty Hilligoss, Company C, 40th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 11th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade.
"The road march after a few hours of sleep was the most difficult part of the events. It was pretty difficult terrain and the lack of sleep, I tried to give it my best and it was a difficult task," said Sgt. Stephen Waters, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Network Enterprise Technology Command. "The easiest part for me was the written; I am pretty good at writing," he added.
"Future competitors should work hard, study hard. Can't go wrong with giving 100 percent," Waters said.
"Sergeant Waters is a go getter. … He enjoys competiveness. He came from a unit an infantry unit where they did a lot of these things so he saw what was on there and said 'yeah, I can do that,'" said his sponsor, Sgt 1st Class Kenneth Gossett, NETCOM.
Participants included: Spc. Troy Mata, Runion Dental Activity; Sgt. John Batemon, Company B, 304th MI Bn., 111th MI Bde.; Sgt. Rusty Hilligoss, Company C, 40th ESB, 11th TTSB; Sgt. Mark Crosby, Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center; Sgt. Stephen Waters, Headquarters Company, NETCOM; Sgt. Micheal Avila, MEDDAC; Spc. Jacob Stockman, Company C, 40th ESB11th TTSB; Sgt. 1st Class John Zehring, 18th Military Police Detachment; and Sgt. Richard Quarles, DENTAC.
Originally 14 Soldiers were signed up for the competition but deployments and injuries held five back from competing. The competition is cumulative and is a solitary event for Fort Huachuca.