By Sgt. 1st Class Reshema SherlockMay 5, 2017
The three-day event which was hosted by the 189th Combined Arms Training Brigade, consisted of a variety of rigorous events to include, combative drills, weapons qualification, night and day land navigation, and confidence, and obstacle courses.
"Although the competition was an individual event, the planning, coordination, and execution was a team effort from every leader within the brigade," said Sgt. 1st Class Usoalii Faletagoai, an observer coach/trainer, assigned to the 189th CATB.
"The events were very well coordinated, and ran very professionally strong and dedicated individuals," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Taylor, an OC/T assigned to 1st Battalion, 335th Infantry Battalion, 157th Combined Arms Training Brigade. Camp Atterbury, Indiana.
Despite the typical cold and rainy Washington state weather, the competitors displayed a great level of determination, drive, confidence and motivation throughout the competition.
"This competition means a lot to me," said Sgt. Rockkeem Carey, a senior driver assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, Division West.
"To be able to compete with more senior noncommissioned officers who not only have a wealth of knowledge to share, but a great deal of experience, means a lot. It also teaches me how to humble myself, as I never know what I may be up against."
With limited breaks and minimum sleep, the competitors learned the true meaning of what it felt like to be continuously challenged, and the expectation to give it your all, despite being tired.
"The competition was very demanding, both physically and mentally," said Staff Sgt. Christopher Avila, and OC/T assigned to 2-358 Armor Regiment, 189th CATB.
"The most challenging part of the competition for me was the obstacle course." It challenged every part of my body, and allowed me to continuously create strategies on how I would go about completing an obstacle," said Avila. "I definitely had to push myself, and remember why I was here."
The last day of the competition proved no different than the other two as the events were just as tiring. The candidates had to conduct a grueling 12-mile foot march fully geared while carrying a 35 pound ruck and weapon.
"The 12-mile foot march truly crushed me -- I could barely move," said Avila.
Along the route, each competitor had to conduct warrior tasks and battle drills which to some were outside of their primary military occupational skill. Some of the warrior tasks consisted of calling for fire, identifying hand grenades, and evaluating a casualty.
"Staying proficient in your warrior tasks and drills is a key task to completing these events," said Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Lange, a firing platoon OC/T assigned to 2nd Battalion, 307th Regiment Fires, Division East.
Upon completion of the foot march, the competitors had a short period of time in which they had to prepare for a board. The board tested the competitor's technical and tactical knowledge, as well as their understanding of military programs.
Despite the outstanding and phenomenal job displayed by all the competitors, there can only be one winner. With an overall score of 458 points, Avila emerged as the winner of the all-First Army, Best Warrior.
"It's a great feeling to be the First Army's Best Warrior," said Avila. "I am truly honored to not only be a great representation of my brigade, but to represent all of First Army."
Avila, who will be representing First Army at the United States Army Forces Command Best Warrior Competition later this summer says, he plans to continue training, and push himself even more.
"I plan to train… I plan to train as humanely as possible," said Avila.
"I will win at the FORSCOM level."