JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas -- (July 13, 2017) An Army Contracting Command Solider pits his mental and physical strength against fellow Soldiers from throughout the Army Materiel Command beginning July 16 at Camp Atterbury, Indiana.

Staff Sgt. Jared Casey, a contract specialist with the 409th Contracting Support Brigade, competes in the AMC Best Warrior Competition after besting his competitors at the ACC level June 5-9 at Joint Base San Antonio-Camp Bullis, Texas.

"The ACC Best Warrior Competition was both mentally and physically demanding. It tested the flexibility and dexterity of the finest NCOs in our field," the Hennepin, Oklahoma, native said. "All competitors came with the intention of becoming the ACC Best Warrior and throughout the competition, we all came together as a team. I tried to be consistent in every event, and it worked to my advantage."

Casey, 32, said he expects a more challenging competition and experience at this next level as well as heightened physical and mental demands. He departs Sembach, Germany, July 14 to travel to Camp Atterbury following a month of increased ruck training and daily study dedicated to being more competitive at the AMC level.

"The ACC competition provided me the blueprint to win at the AMC level, because they mirrored the events off of last year's competition," he said. "At each level, the cadre are knowledgeable of the events for the next level and want to ensure the competitor is prepared."

Traveling with Casey is his sponsor, Sgt. 1st Class Rechelle Collins, whose role also entails ensuring he is prepared and emphasizes the value of such competitions.

"Best warrior is valuable to the NCO corps because NCOs tend to forget that we are Soldiers first and the military occupational specialty is secondary," Collins said. "We fall into a daily routine and get complacent, even in garrison."

Collins said the competition allows NCOs to "re-green" on basic Soldier tasks and battle drills; realize where they rank in relation to their peers at different levels within the Army; and test and rate their physical and mental state against Army standards. She added events in which Casey and other Soldiers will compete also prepare them to fight and win this nation's wars.

"Some Soldiers have not been assessed on these basic tasks since basic training and advanced individual training. As a competitor, cadre and sponsor, you are forced to dust off the Soldier Manual of Common Tasks," she said. "You learn how to read a map and apply a tourniquet if you want to win at any and all levels.

"Soldiers should prepare to win at war utilizing the same methods and tools they would utilize to prepare to win best warrior," Collins continued. "In fact Soldiers in all units should have the 'win every day' mindset. Leaders of all units must insist that training guidance be built upon the 'train as you fight' philosophy."

Casey has previously put such training to practice during two deployments to Iraq in 2005 and 2014. During his first deployment, he served as a heavy equipment transporter responsible for moving units in and out of the theater of operations. After completion of training to become a 51 Charlie contracting NCO in February 2013, he again deployed as part of the 1st Infantry Division in support of Operation Inherent Resolve responsible for contracts providing life support services.

A student athlete at Davis High School in Davis, Oklahoma, he notes that the teamwork for success in sports bears little similarity to that of deploying in the service of a nation.

"The camaraderie that you build during deployments is like none other," Casey said. "I have played sports throughout high school, and nothing brings a group closer together than when you know that your buddy has your back on the battlefield."

Casey is a 2016 graduate of the University of Maryland University College with a bachelor's in management studies. He holds a Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act Level II certification as a member of the Army acquisition workforce.

Camp Atterbury, located about 35 miles south of Indianapolis, is an Indiana National Guard training installation at which units conduct integrated live, virtual and constructive training in urban and rural training environments and at forward operating bases and combat outposts.

Headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, AMC is responsible for developing and delivering materiel readiness solutions to ensure globally dominant land force capabilities. AMC is one of three Army Commands and oversees nine major subordinate commands and three separate reporting units. ACC makes up the contracting arm of AMC.