By Lorin T. SmithApril 9, 2009
Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Wash. - One noncommissioned officer and one Soldier, both with less than five years of Army service between them, were named the 2009 U.S. Army Medical Command NCO and Soldier of the Year" Best Warrior" competition winners after a grueling five-day competition held at Madigan Army Medical Center and Fort Lewis, Wash.
Sgt. David Dasilma, 28, originally from Surrey, British Columbia, Canada, and with the 121st Combat Support Hospital, Yongsan Army Garrison, Korea, Pacific Regional Medical Command, will represent the MEDCOM in the Army NCO of the Year "Best Warrior" competition slated for later this year. He has served three years in the Army.
Earning Soldier of the Year honors was Spc. Jonathan Jordan, 25, from Marietta, Ga., and with the Fort Huachuca Medical Activity, Fort Huachuca, Ariz., Great Plains Regional Medical Command. Jordan had the least amount of Army service time compared to all the other candidates with only a year and a half.
Both winners, including the other 18 candidates (10 NCOs and 10 Soldiers), were recognized for their dedication to the event during an awards luncheon April 3 at the McChord Club at McChord Air Force Base, Wash. The competition was held March 29 to April 3 and was hosted by the Western Regional Medical Command and Madigan. This was the first time the event was not held at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, the home of MEDCOM.
"The Soldiers were ready because of their personal determination as well as their leaders' engagement," said Maj. Gen. Patricia Horoho, commander of the Western Regional Medical Command and Madigan Army Medical Center, at the luncheon.
Horoho went on to say that because of the Soldiers' accomplishments, Army senior leaders have complete confidence that those Soldiers coming up in the ranks will be able to make the Army Medical Department remain strong and continue its mission.
Participants were tested on the following events
Aca,!Ac take a 50-question exam;
Aca,!Ac write a timed essay;
Aca,!Ac answer question after question from MEDCOM command sergeants major in an oral board;
Aca,!Ac sweat through an Army Physical Fitness Test;
Aca,!Ac walk about 15 miles around Fort Lewis finding points as part of a day and night urban orienteering course;
Aca,!Ac climb over obstacles, clear buildings and use tactical medical and Soldier battle skills and drills in a field environment;
Aca,!Ac shoot as many targets as possible during a day and night rifle qualification;
Aca,!Ac swim with a "drowning" buddy the length of a pool and then perform CPR on a mannequin and
Aca,!Ac beat out other Soldiers in their weight class in a no-holds-barred combatives tournament.
The NCOs and Soldiers began training for these five days last year, as they first started competing at their respective unit's NCO and Soldier of the Quarter boards. They then won their local NCO and Soldier of the Year competitions, and then their Region's events held within the last few months. Vying for the most coveted enlisted award in MEDCOM were the six regional winners, who joined representatives of Dental Command, Veterinary Command, the Army Medical Department Center and School and Medical Research and Material Command for the finals here.
U.S. Army Medical Command Sgt. Maj. Althea Dixon, the top enlisted Soldier of the Army's Medical Department, informed the luncheon crowd that the competitors represented the best the Army had to offer. "We are proud of each and every one of you, and the training and development programs for these Soldiers is what it is all about," Dixon said.
Both Dasilma and Jordan received an Army Commendation Medal, a trophy that will remain with their units until next year's competition, various prizes including a duffle bag, limited edition Patriot Warrior Award knife, camping gear items and more than $1,400 in cash.
"I'm shocked," Dasilma said, immediately after he heard the announcement that he had won. "This feels really good, and it's kind of a surreal moment. I haven't weighed in how big this is." Dasilma is an immunizations NCO and is looking to finish his degree in film production in the next few years.
Jordan is a medical supply specialist with a bachelor's degree in Health Services Administration, and is waiting to hear if he has been accepted to attend Officer Candidate School. "If you put in the time and work, you can do (this)," Jordan said. "You have to do this on your own and put in the extra time. It takes a lot of effort."
All of the candidates received a U.S. Army Medical Command Commanders and Command Sergeant Major's Certificate of Achievement.