USAPHC recognizes Soldier and NCO of 2013

By Jane Gervasoni, Public Affairs Office, U.S. Army Public Health CommandAugust 19, 2013

1 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
2 / 2 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Sgt. Mario Leon, a veterinary food inspection specialist from Public Health Command Region"Pacific, dons Mission-Oriented Protective Posture, or MOPP, gear as part of the "survive" segment of the Army warrior tasks and battle drills during the 2013 U... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

Sgt. Mario Leon and Spc. Kyle Biggs, Public Health Command Region--Pacific, took top honors June 7 after a week of intense challenges that tested the mental and physical abilities of 11 non-commissioned officers and Soldiers.

The U.S. Army Public Health Command conducted its 2013 Best Warrior Competition June 3--7 at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md. The competition brought together the best NCOs and Soldiers from USAPHC headquarters and all five USAPHC regional commands.

The events tested their strength, endurance, marksmanship, warrior skills, board interview aptitude, physical fitness, knowledge through written exam, dismounted day and night land navigation, and other tasks relevant to the Army's operating environment.

"This competition convinced me that I know more and can go farther than I thought I could," said Leon, a veterinary food inspection specialist at Public Health Command District--Central Pacific. "I also found out that MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) aren't so bad after all."

Biggs, an animal care specialist at PHCD--Central Pacific, said he was lucky to have this opportunity to measure himself against so many great Soldiers.

"This was a great opportunity for all of us to better ourselves and continue to learn," explained Biggs.

USAPHC's Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald C. Ecker commended the participants for the hard work and energy they expended to be chosen to represent the headquarters and the regional commands.

"You have proven that you are the best-ready individuals to defend our Constitution and our country," said Ecker.

"I feel like I wear three hats," said Biggs. "I am a professional Soldier, an athlete and a battle-buddy: I have rubbed shoulders with the best (in the Army Public Health Command). We can make a difference if we care."

In recognizing the skills of the competitors, Maj. Gen. Dean G. Sienko, USAPHC commander, spoke about Vince Lombardi, football coach of the Green Bay Packers. Using a quote from the football hero Sienko said that the USAPHC Best Warrior competitors "chased perfection … to catch excellence."

"The future of the Army will depend on you," Sienko told the competitors.

Both Soldiers were impressed with Sienko's comments about being part of the Army.

"I feel like I have a real purpose; the Army is my home and my family," said Leon.

Leon and Biggs are stationed in Hawaii. They will compete against Soldiers and NCOs from across the entire U.S. Army Medical Command in the next MEDCOM Best Warrior Competition to be hosted by the USAPHC.

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U.S. Army Public Health Command