GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Nineteen Soldiers from units throughout Europe converged on the Grafenwoehr training area in order to compete for the title of Best Warrior during the 21st Theater Sustainment Command's 2013 Best Warrior competition, May 16 -- 20.
Spc. Ian Pocklington, 18th Engineer Brigade, Sgt. Jordan Stipp and 2nd Lt. Beau Benton, 18th Military Police Brigade, earned the title of Best Warrior, Best NCO and Best Junior Officer, and will move on to represent the 21st TSC in the upcoming U.S. Army Europe Best Warrior competition.
The competitors tested their warrior skills in multiple events ranging from weapons qualification, a physical fitness test, an obstacle course, a combat medical simulator and many others in the four-day competition with little or no rest in between events.
"The Best Warrior event tests the abilities of the junior enlisted, NCOs and officers within the command," said Sgt. 1st Class Daryle Rogers, the competition's operations sergeant, and a native of Waynesville, Mo. "It puts them out of their comfort zone, and it tests them in all of their basic Soldiering skills in items that they don't normally touch."
"We put them in scenarios where they have to think outside the box and react at a moments notice," added Rogers. "It trains them to be able to think on their feet and react to situations that they don't normally encounter."
"The events have been very challenging, and the competition has a nice flow to it," said competitor Sgt. Christopher Lamp, a healthcare specialist with the 21st TSC's 7th Civil Support Command and a native of Charlotte, N.C. "You don't really know what you're going to do until you get there."
For most Soldiers, the opportunity to meet a new group of Soldiers and build lasting relationships is just as important as the chance to win the competition.
"One of the first things you do when you get here is you size people up, but by the end of that first day you're already friends," said Lamp. "Even though you're competing against each other, you want to know how each other did and sometimes you want to help each other out."
"From the beginning we had a chance to learn about each other," said competitor Staff Sgt. Paul Hernandez, a squad leader with the 21st TSC's 18th Engineer Brigade. "We also got a little bit more bonding time throughout each of the events and we developed personal camaraderie that we can take with us."
Another motivator for competing Soldiers was the chance to become more proficient at their warrior skills and then pass what they have learned down to other Soldiers in their units.
"My motivation was to get more skills to be a more well rounded leader so I can help train Soldiers," said Hernandez. Hernandez wants to "provide an example so when it comes down to mentoring (Soldiers) they can be better leaders and better professionals."
"For me, being an older competitor, I had to work a bit little harder," added Hernandez. "And by working a little harder, I'm gaining more knowledge that I can pass on to those below me."