Giving Directions
1 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Staff Sgt. Suzanne Hinkel (center), a training and operations noncommissioned officer assigned to the 505th Theater Tactical Signal Brigade, 335th Signal Command (Theater) gives instructions to best warrior competitors prior to administering a writte... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Stepping off
2 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A group of Army Reserve Soldiers from the 335th Signal Command (Theater) leaves the starting line at 4:30 a.m. for a timed 10 kilometer ruck march with 35 pound packs on their backs March 30, as part of the command's 2017 Best Warrior Competition bei... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Running for the Finish Line
3 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Sgt. Stephen Messenger (right), an information technology specialist assigned to the 1st Information Operations Command, 335th Signal Command (Theater) and Army Reserve Spc. Julian Ditona, a multi-channel transmission systems operator/ma... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Almost finished
4 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Spc. Joshua Anderson, an information technology specialist assigned to the 335th Signal Command (Theater), runs for the finish line of a timed 10-kilometer ruck march with a 35-pound pack on his back March 30, as part of the command's 20... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Almost to the finish line
5 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Erick Guzman, an information technology staff noncommissioned officer assigned to the 820th Signal Company, 98th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 335th Signal Command (Theater), runs for the finish line of a timed 10-kilometer ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Motivating the troops
6 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Command Sgt. Maj. Ronnie Farmer (right), command sergeant major for the 335th Signal Command (Theater), and Sgt. Matthew James (center), a human resources specialist assigned to the 98th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 335th SC (T), run alongside Arm... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Talking it over
7 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Sgt. Anderson Rodriguez (left), a satellite communications operator/maintainer, assigned to the 4th Joint Communications Squadron, Joint Communications Support Element, 335th Signal Command (Theater), discusses a 10-kilometer ruck march ... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Rendering First Aid
8 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Sgt. Anderson Rodriguez (right), a satellite communications operator/maintainer, assigned to the 4th Joint Communications Squadron, Joint Communications Support Element, 335th Signal Command (Theater), talks to a cadre member as he evalu... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Checking out the injuries
9 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Spc. Josue Mendez, an information technology specialist from the 319th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 335th Signal Command (Theater), evaluates a simulated casualty during a mystery event following a 10-kilometer ruck march March 30, as... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Looking for injuries
10 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Erick Guzman, an information technology staff noncommissioned officer assigned to the 820th Signal Company, 98th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 335th Signal Command (Theater), evaluates a simulated casualty during a mystery e... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Answering questions
11 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Clifford Arrington, an information technology specialist and native of Waynesville, North Carolina, assigned to Defense Information Systems Agency, Army Reserve Element, 335th Signal Command (Theater) answers questions on a wr... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Taking the exam
12 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Sgt. Stephen Messenger, an information technology specialist, assigned to the 1st Information Operations Command, 335th Signal Command (Theater) answers questions on a written exam March 30, as part of the command's 2017 Best Warrior Co... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Choosing the right answers
13 / 13 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Erik Guzman, information technology staff noncommissioned officer and native of Austin, Texas, assigned to the 820th Signal Company, 98th Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 335th Signal Command (Theater) answers questions on a wr... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT HUACHUCA, Arizona - Being a part of the most capable, ready and lethal Federal Reserve force in the history of the United States sometimes means getting an early start, so while most people here were nestled comfortably in their warm beds, hours before their alarm kick-started them into their day, a group of Soldiers were busy stuffing various types of field gear into their ruck sacks and preparing for a 10-kilometer ruck march in 35-degree temperatures.

The early rising warriors have gathered here from across the country to represent their commands in the 335th Signal Command's (Theater) 2017 Best Warrior Competition.

For the past three days the group of eight tough Soldiers has been tested in a variety of challenges including the Army Physical Fitness Test, a timed obstacle course, urban operations, day and night land navigation, rifle marksmanship and a host of others.

The fourth day of the five-day challenge finds the group operating in complete darkness at 4:30 a.m., strapping on a 35-pound pack to their backs and competing with one another to make it through the 6.2-mile course with the fastest time.

"The Soldiers were given a three-hour window to complete the ruck march," said Staff Sgt. Jason Philleo, staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of the 2017 Best Warrior Competition for the 335th SC (T). "They were scored on their finishing time. If they completed the challenge in 45 minutes or less they were awarded 10 points. Every 15 minutes after that they would be awarded one point less."

The first challenger to make it across the finish line in just over an hour was Sgt. Anderson Rodriguez, a satellite communications operator/maintainer, assigned to the 4th Joint Communications Squadron, Joint Communications Support Element, 335th SC (T).

"I'm very accustomed to ruck marching," said Rodriguez. "In my unit we ruck at least once a week, and I also ruck by myself on the weekends. For this event I ran the first three miles, then walked for five minutes, then ran some more. I would run halfway up a hill, then walk to the top and run down the other side. I think the key to winning was knowing when to rest during the event."

After all the competitors crossed the finish line and dropped their packs, they then faced a mystery event that required them to evaluate a simulated casualty. Once they completed the medical challenge, they were given time for breakfast and a short period of rest before reporting for their last challenge of the day...a written exam and an essay.

"The written exam covers a multitude of subjects, everything from the Army Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program to various regulations and basic Soldier knowledge," said Philleo. "It also covers some political aspects as well, such as how the government is set up. This just helps us to see who prepared before they got here and who is the most knowledgeable Soldier all around."

Once the Soldiers complete the exam and two-page essay, they will be finished for the day and will have a short time to prepare themselves for the fifth and final day of the competition that will include a uniform inspection and an oral exam board.

Philleo offered some final advice for those going forward. "Confidence is key," he said. "Make sure your uniforms are on point, and answer the board questions like you wrote the book, even if you are wrong. They've completed the physical part of the competition, now they are hitting the mental portion and it's going to really test their knowledge, confidence and personality."

Related Links:

DVIDS article - Competition Day 1

DVIDS article - Competition Day 2

DVIDS article - Competition Day 3