By Mr. Stephen Standifird (Leonard Wood)February 26, 2015
Two Fort Leonard Wood Soldiers represented the post during the 2015 Western Regional Dental Command's Best Warrior Competition at Fort Bliss, Texas, earlier this month.
They joined nine other Soldiers who were competing for the chance to represent the Western Regional Dental Command at the U.S. Dental Command's Best Warrior Competition scheduled next month.
Sgt. Javier Aguilar, Roll Dental Clinic practice manager, and Spc. Tanya Watkins, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, dental hygienist, earned their place at the regional competition by being named the Noncommissioned Officer and Soldier of the Year for the Dental Command here.
"It felt good to be able to represent Fort Leonard Wood at the competition," said Aguilar, who finished second overall in the NCO category.
Even though he finished second, Aguilar was not content with the results.
"I want to go back next year and get it," he said.
The competition was four days of mental and physical challenges that included a road march with 35-pound pack, obstacle course, day and night land- navigation course, marksmanship tasks, and written tests about basic Soldier and dental skills.
Watkins was partial to the land-navigation course because, she found all of her locations and made it back first. It was the obstacle course that frustrated her the most.
"(The obstacle course) was the most physically challenging of all the events," she said. "It was very challenging and made me really push to my limits."
Aguilar said he enjoyed the water skills portion of the competition, adding it was done at the most inopportune time.
"We did it (the water skills event) right after the road march, so we were tired," he said. "We could barely move our legs when it was over."
The preparation for the regional competition began for Aguilar and Watkins when they were getting ready for the local NCO and Soldier of the Year boards.
Aguilar said his preparation included a lot of running, basic physical fitness and studying his Soldier's Manual.
"You have to be ready for anything," he said.
The competition afforded the Soldiers an opportunity to meet other Soldiers in the dental community and form bonds that they hope can last.
"Getting to compete with these Soldiers builds camaraderie," Watkins said. "We all got along really well. They inspired me."
While Aguilar hopes to get back next year, Watkins was happy to have had the experience, and encourages other Soldiers to compete.
"It is an experience I think every Soldier should have," she said.