FORT HOOD, Texas --Soldiers of the III Armored Corps gathered on Fort Hood this week in over 100 degree temperatures to compete in the Best Warrior Competition June 20-23.
During the four-day competition, ten competitors test their Army aptitude by conquering urban warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams and warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today's operations.
According to Sgt. Maj. Roger Heinze, the Task Force Phantom operations sergeant major, the competition is close between contenders -- as it should be.
"We have the best Soldiers from each division and our expeditionary sustainment command here competing to win, so anything is possible," Heinze said.
Twenty-year-old Tucson, Arizona, native, Spc. Jose A. Howard, a fire support specialist with 3rd Battalion, 29th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, stationed at Fort Carson, Colorado, said his preparation has been non-stop.
"I love to lead by example," Howard said. "I have been preparing for the opportunity to surpass my peers all year."
With less than three years in the Army, the Sahuarita High School graduate said, "I don't like to just meet the standard, I exceed the standard."
Command Sgt. Maj. Patrick A. Akuna, Task Force Phantom's top enlisted soldier, emphasized that with III Corps being the largest Corps in the United States Army, he knows his soldiers are going to win it all.
"The top two Soldiers, one noncommissioned officer and one junior enlisted soldier, will go with me to Fort Bragg, (North Carolina), to compete at the (U.S. Army Forces Command) level," Akuna said. "The intent of myself and Command Sgt. Maj. Smith (III Corps and Fort Hood Command Sergeant Major) is to win it all, and we've got the troops to do that. To give 100 percent and then some; (the) Ranger standard."
When Howard was asked about what motivates him to compete, he said he was doing this for his parents, Jose and Patricia, to make them proud.
Howard was then asked if there was anything he wanted to say to them if they could see him now and he said, "Watch me go to work."