By Justin Graff, ASC Public AffairsJune 25, 2015
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. - Seven Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army Sustainment Command put their Army skills to the test this week during ASC's 2015 Best Warrior Competition, here.
The event began when competitors checked in at 5 a.m. on Monday, June 22, and ended with an awards breakfast held at the RIA Golf Club, June 25.
At the breakfast, the competitors sat together and waited for Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Bryant, ASC's top-ranking Non-commissioned Officer to announce the winners.
Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Benjamin was named ASC'S NCO of the Year, a competition that was open to all ASC NCOs from corporal to sergeant first class.
Spc. Jack Hopper, ASC, was named ASC's Soldier of the Year, a competition that was open to all ASC Soldiers from private to specialist.
The other competitors were, Sgt. 1st Class Curtis Benjamin, ASC, RIA; Sgt. 1st Class Benjamin Bryan, 404th Army Field Support Brigade, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Sgt. 1st Class Rosalio Garza, ASC, RIA; Sgt. 1st Class Annette Simon, 402nd AFSB, Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar; Sgt. Brian Reynolds, ASC, RIA; and Sgt. Luke Sulak, 403rd AFSB, Camp Casey, Korea.
Hopper and Benjamin will go on to compete at the U.S. Army Materiel Command's BWC at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, scheduled for August.
Winners at the AMC level will go on to compete at the Army-wide Best Warrior Competition at Fort AP Hill, Virginia, scheduled for October.
"We designed this competition to be about endurance," Bryant said. "Then we tested aptitude. First, as a Soldier, you have to be strong, and then you have to be smart.
"I see my replacement at that table. I'm going to fade off in the next year and a half… and we need to make strong leaders. The Soldiers at that table are challenging themselves."
The competition began with a weigh-in and check-in at the Arsenal's orderly room where the Soldiers were issued gear they would need during the next three days. The Soldiers and their sponsors learned more about the competition at a kickoff reception held that afternoon at the RIA Golf Club.
Early Tuesday morning, the seven competitors completed the Army Physical Fitness Test, which includes two minutes of push-ups and two minutes of sit-ups, followed by a two-mile run.
Competitors then changed into their Army Combat Uniforms and proceeded to the Memorial Field Pavilion, dubbed Forward Operating Base-Sustainer for the competition. From there, the Soldiers were each given different missions that sent them to locations across the island where they would complete challenges and tasks.
Not only did the competitors have to traverse across the island to reach their challenges, they had to return to FOB-Sustainer after each event to receive their next mission. This allowed the cadre to manage the competitors' movements, as well as maintain a constant rotation of competitors through each task location.
RIA's helipad was set up as a Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear station where competitors donned protective gear and decontaminated themselves and their equipment.
The urban orienteering challenge led competitors across the entire installation -- armed with only a map and a two-hour time limit -- in search of 15 specific points.
The warrior tasks and battle drills were tested using a situational training exercise at RIA's STX range. The challenge began at a weapons station where competitors were timed as they assembled various military weapons. They then embarked on a circuit where they had to react to simulated indirect and direct fire; navigate a trek through the woods that included obstacles such as barbed wire; and perform tactical movement through open terrain.
After navigating through the woods and across the open terrain, competitors arrived at a simulated urban environment where they were evaluated on clearing buildings, treating casualties and hand-to-hand combat.
The final section of the warrior tasks and battle drills event had competitors operating a simulated entry control point where they had to perform a vehicle inspection while also safely communicating with local nationals.
In the afternoon, the temperature outside was climbing into the mid-90s. The competitors had been aware all morning that there was a mystery event scheduled. That mystery event turned out to be a road march, leading the seven exhausted bodies 10 miles in heavy gear with full ruck sacks.
Competitors were also interviewed by members of ASC's public affairs team and were evaluated on their interaction with simulated news media.
Finally, competitors were tested on their marksmanship firing the M-4 rifle at an indoor range. The event took place at the Keith L. Ware Test and Simulation Center on the island. Competitors shot from 25 meters away at a target that simulated targets at different distances up to 300 meters.
The rifle was set at mechanical zero. If a Soldier didn't hit 40 out of 40 in their first attempt, they were given the option to fire again with the best score being used for their total score. Proficiency was tested in the prone supported, prone unsupported and kneeling positions.
The second full day of competition began, again, at 5 a.m. Competitors were challenged early with another mystery event, titled "Fit to Fight," where they took two additional fitness tests consecutively -- in the rain.
The Soldiers then changed into the Army Service Uniform to appear before a board headed by Bryant. The morning also included a 50-question exam testing general military knowledge and completion of an essay on a topic unknown to the competitors until they sat down for the test.
For the final mystery event, competitors had to plot coordinates on a map with a protractor.