311th Signal Command warriors compete for "Best of the Best" title
May 31, 2012
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii- Competitors representing Signal units throughout Asia and the Pacific convened here to tackle four days of challenging events at the 2012 311th Signal Command (Theater) Best Warrior Competition, May 19 through 23.
Ten competing Soldiers and non-commissioned officers flew from as far as Alaska and Korea to compete in the annual competition.
The 2012 Soldier of the Year winner was Spc. Richard Wyce, B Co 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, Helemanu Military Reservation, Hawaii. The 2012 Non-commissioned Officer of the Year winner was Sgt. 1st Class Ty Patrick, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 59th Signal Battalion, Joint Base Elemendorf/Richardson, Alaska.
Both 78th Sig. Bn. and 307th ESB report to the 516th Signal Brigade, Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
"To reach this level of competition, these warriors demonstrated dedication to duty and a thirst for excellence," said 311th Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin J, Thompson. "Each year, we try to out do what we did the year prior, so when you look at the quality of events, how it's set up, the equipment, effort, and how it's put together, I'm very proud of the 311th participating Soldiers and NCOs; and it was an honor and privilege to witness their hard work and perseverance."
Thompson said one of the factors that makes 311th Warrior Challenge so unique among other Army Warrior Challenges is that the 311th is a multi-component unit. This means that it has Active, Reserve and Department of Army Civilians all under the same command, and therefore accepts competing Soldiers from both the Active and Reserve components of the Army.
The 311th Commanding General Brig. Gen. William Scott and Thompson together with fellow senior leaders of the 311th welcomed competing Soldiers with an icebreaker luncheon at Fort Shafter's Hale Ikena. Immediately following the luncheon, the competition kicked off with a written exam and essay.
In addition to the written portion, competitors kicked off day two with an Army Physical Fitness Test followed by a morning filled with a variety of Army Warrior Tasks such as evaluating and evacuating a casualty and reacting to indirect fire. Several mystery tasks during the AWT portion of the competition included disassembling and reassembling an M249 machine guns, performing a functions check with a 9mm Beretta pistol, maintenance checks, performing tactical communications, and identifying wear and appearance of military uniform malfunctions. After completing these events, participating Soldiers engaged in an afternoon of Modern Army Combatives.
Additional challenges included a 12 km ruck march, both day and night urban orienteering, and a formal board with a panel of sergeant majors.
"Best of the best means you have all the qualities in all the areas and you really are the Soldier that everyone expects to see, you're not just awesome at one thing and then get by on something else," said runner-up NCO of the Year Sgt. Christian Riley, 275th Sig. Co. 41st Sig. Bn, who flew from Camp Humphreys, Korea to compete. "I think everyone should strive to make it to this level and past, you really find out a lot about yourself and you really improve yourself."
The NCO in charge of the event, Master Sgt. Rodney Kelley, concurred.
"It is worthwhile to try to be better than your peers to your left and to your right. You can always be better, you can always improve yourself," said Kelley.
"We're bringing the best from our brigades, the best from our Reserve component units, bringing all these Soldiers together, letting them compete against each other in rigorous competition to determine who is going to represent us well at the next level," said Kelley.
The 311th winners will go on to compete in the Network Enterprise Technology Command/9th Signal Command (Army) competition in Fort Huachuca, Ariz., U.S. Army, Pacific competition and U.S. Army Reserve Command competition this summer.