By 1st Lt. Kareem AbioseMay 7, 2018
Kosovo Security Forces (KSF) conducted their annual International Army Competition - Best Soldier, April 22-27, at Skenderbeu Barracks Training and Doctrine Command in Ferizaj, Kosovo.
Since 2014, the KSF has organized its Best Soldier Competition with events in different military skill sets, including general duties of Soldiers. In 2017, international soldiers were invited, allowing the various NATO forces that comprise Kosovo Force (KFOR) to participate.
Sgt. Bradley R. Dompke, a cavalry scout team leader with the 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, was chosen to represent the 'Destroyer' battalion and the United States in the competition.
The Destroyers, based in Fort Carson, Colorado, are currently on a nine-month peace and security mission in Kosovo serving as the main maneuver element for KFOR's Multi-National Battle Group - East.
"After Sgt. Dompke's stellar performance at the Joint Maneuver Readiness Center (JMRC), which earned him the recognition of 'Hero of the Battle,' we decided to award him with the opportunity of participating in a multinational event," said Capt. Michael Serafini, commander of Bravo Troop, 3-61 Cavalry Regiment.
Dompke's participation in the event saw him competing with KFOR Soldiers from the United Kingdom, Croatia, Belgium, Albania, Macedonia, Canada, and two fellow Soldiers from the United States. Dompke was the top placing American Soldier finishing in fifth in a field of 39. A KSF soldier placed first.
"This event was like nothing I have ever seen before," Dompke said. "I truly appreciated the opportunity and believe it is a once in a life time experience. I made friends with Soldiers from Canada and England. Through conversations, I realized that we shared similar interests, like music and T.V. shows."
The similarities didn't stop there. While talking to one of the British Soldiers, Dompke realized that they both served in Afghanistan at the same time, in the same place.
The competition has triggered the interest of KSF soldiers in participating in more international competitions, and also served to increase their level of physical readiness, the performance of their military duties and their spirit of competition, while allowing them to benefit from sharing experiences with international competitors from partner nations.
The events conducted during the competition included a physical fitness test at Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) standards, day and night land navigation, KSF weapons qualification with an M4A1 carbine, obstacle course, grenade toss, first aid, scout skills, and culminated with a 15-kilometers (9 miles) ruck march.