By Ms. Tanya Schusler (Army Medicine)May 10, 2016
SAN ANTONIO -- Think you had a tough week at work? Some U.S. Army Medical Command Soldiers beg to differ. The physical stamina and Army knowledge of 24 Soldiers were put to the test during MEDCOM's 2016 Best Warrior Competition at Camp Bullis, Texas, May 2-5. In the end, only two Soldiers were named the best at the award ceremony May 6.
"Each of you is commended on a job well done," Army Surgeon General Lt. Gen. Nadja Y. West said in a recorded message to all the participants. "Making it to this level demonstrates your commitment to the Army values."
Both representatives from Medical Research and Materiel Command were announced as Best Warriors. Spc. Victor Galvez (Soldier of the Year representative) and Sgt. 1st Class Ilker Irmak (Noncommissioned Officer of the Year representative) will represent MEDCOM at the Department of Army 2016 Best Warrior Competition tentatively scheduled for September 2016 at Fort A. P. Hill, Va.
"It's an achievement even though it's collective," Irmak said. "I've been blessed with leadership, Soldiers and a wife who is my support."
"I wanted to do my best for my team because they helped me train," Galvez commented. "Being with Irmak in this competition was memorable. We have a strong bond now, and it's really awesome that I won with him."
Participants endured early morning wake up calls to compete in a number of events such as M16 qualification, day and night land navigation, an obstacle course, fitness performance testing, 12-mile foot march and a board. A mystery event was also included and tested the physical and mental agility of Soldiers with running events, burpees and a written exam evaluating cognitive ability under stress.
"They achieved excellence not only for themselves but something bigger," MEDCOM Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald C. Ecker stated.
With a focus on readiness of the force, Ecker commented that the excellent performance of Soldiers in the competition was a result of planning and hope. In addition, he was proud to say other units recognize the quality of MEDCOM Soldiers time and again.
"The amazing thing is the overall will for folks to give their best not against others but against themselves," Ecker said.
"It's not about winning. It's about what our country needs," Ecker added.
MEDCOM conducted the intense 2016 Best Warrior Competition in conjunction with Army North, Army South and Army Installation Management Command to select the NCO and Soldier that best represented the MEDCOM and the Army's Warrior Ethos for participation in competition at the Army level.