FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. - Four Soldiers from across the U.S. Army Intelligence Center of Excellence competed for the title of 'Best Warrior' May14-18.
The four day competition was designed to test the mental, physical, and emotional strength of the competitors with intense back to back events.
Day One started with an Army Physical Fitness Test, followed by an Obstacle Course in the morning with a Physical Readiness Training Evaluation and a personal weapons qualification in the afternoon.
Day Two started with a Combatives Tournament followed by a written essay and a Command Sergeants Major Board in the morning with a written exam and a Night Land Navigation Course in the evening.
Pfc. Askia Humphrey, from the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade and the most junior competitor in the competition, said the Command Sergeants Major Board was one of the more nerve wracking aspects of the competition.
"The more questions they asked, the more I realized how much I did not know, the more nervous I got, and they picked up on that very quickly and it started to spiral out of control," said Humphrey.
Day Three consisted of four Soldier Skills stations. They started the day with a 2.5-mile road march to Station 1 where they executed Tactical Combat Casualty Care and Chemical Biological Radiological and Nuclear tasks. Upon completion the soldiers completed a 3.7-mile road march to Station 2 where they executed a call for fire mission, assembled and operated a radio, and employed an AT-4 Anti-Tank Rocket. From there the Soldiers completed a 1.3-mile road march to Station 3 where they identified and employed grenades, reacted to an Improvised Explosive Device, and employed a Claymore mine. Finally, another 1-mile road march to Station 4, where Soldiers employed the 9mm pistol.
On Day Four the competitors enjoyed a 0300hrs., 12-mile, 45-pound pack, ruck march over varying, uneven terrain. That was followed by Weapons Box Challenge which involved assembling and executing a function check on several personal and crew-served weapons for time.
The last event for the Best Warrior Competition was a Stress Shoot. After executing 50 repetitions of push-ups, crunches, and y-squats, low crawling 25 meters, assembling their weapon, and sprinting to the ammo station, Soldiers engaged their target sheet firing 20 rounds, returning to the ammo point for a second magazine, and firing another 20 rounds for time.
The four-day competition pushed the Soldiers to their limits mentally, physically, and emotionally, but in the end just 16 points separated the top two competitors.
"I found I have a lot of learning to do as far as my basic skills. I need to do more ruck marches, night land navigation, everything I did here, I am going to work to prefect those skills," said Humphrey.
Staff Sgt. William Smithe, from the 344th Military Intelligence Battalion located at Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas, who won the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade Noncommissioned Officer of the Quarter just a few months earlier said, "Overall the competition was good, a lot of different events, a lot of different things I have not seen in competitions before, definitely a good group of soldiers I was competing with."
Staff Sgt. Adam Fekete, from the Military Intelligence Noncommissioned Officer Academy, won the competition and was declared USAICoE's 'Best Warrior' and will be competing in the TRADOC 'Best Warrior" competition in the coming months. He credits his success to his fellow competitors.
"Competing with these soldiers really motivated me to keep going and showed me what it was like to be a part of a real team," said Fekete.