By Ms. Brandy C Ostanik (Army Medicine)March 6, 2017
FT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - Medical Department Activity -- Alaska held its 2017 Best Warrior competition over the course of two days, with eight competitors vying for top honors
Spc. Lyndon Wright, a nutrition care specialist at Bassett ACH, won the enlisted Soldier category, while Sgt. Ryan Harpster, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the operating room at Bassett ACH, was awarded the noncommissioned officer title.
The two-day event tested participants in a variety of activities to test their skills.
"These Soldiers participated in a 48 hour event consisting of a six mile ruck march at -10 degrees, an Army Physical Fitness Test, combatives tournament, a written test, oral board, essay, fitness challenge for time, and common tasks and medical skills lane," says MEDDAC-AK Command Sgt. Major Uriah Popp.
While the physical portions of the competition took a toll, Harpster says the essay, which centered on different aspects of leadership, was the most difficult part.
"The hardest part for me was the written essay, just because it writing isn't my strongest suite," says Harpster, "but I took previous boards, such as the NCO of the month and quarter and learned from them. I needed to make sure that I didn't make the same mistakes and always look on ways to improve."
The competition between the four NCOs and four junior enlisted was extremely close and although they were competing against one another, there was also a strong sense of teamwork.
"It was tough competing against my peers," says Wright, "but it was more enjoyable because we were there to push each other. I enjoyed being around so many like-minded individuals."
Harpster agreed with Wright, adding, "We built up a lot of comradery and at the end of the competition we were all rooting for each other."
While this final two-day competition determined who was named Best Warrior, the competition really began a year ago.
The four NCOs and four junior enlisted participating in the competition were all winners of NCO or Soldier of the Quarter, respectively.
"It's been a tough two days," says Popp. "Really this competition is a small piece of the success each of these Soldiers have encountered over this year-long process." Popp not only congratulated Harpster and Wright, but also recognized the hard work of their competitors, Staff Sgt. Rosalie Roeder, Sgt. Brandan White, Cpl. Natalie White, Spc. Samuel Crippen, Spc. Bradford Crow and Spc. Javier De la Cruz.
"All of these Soldiers have extreme potential and that speaks volumes to the commitment of their leadership and themselves," says Popp. "Their personal investment to study, guarantee they are in peak condition and to just challenge themselves ensures they are leading from the front."
Wright and Harpster will continue their training over the next two months in order to compete at the Regional Health Command-Pacific's Best Warrior Competition in Hawaii May 1-5.
"I have no doubt our Arctic Medics will leave a mark at the regional competition," says Popp. "They are 100% ready and will be leading from the front."