By CourtesyApril 11, 2019
WEST POINT, NY -- Coming into West Point as a prior enlisted Soldier provides positive benefits for not only Class of 2022 Cadet Tony Britvec, but also for his fellow cadets.
"The nice thing about being a prior service Soldier is the maturity you bring to a group, especially that knowledge of how to carry yourself," Britvec said. "Being level-headed in times of stress is something that is very hard to do, it's very hard to teach. You don't have an actual example of it around, that's what the greatest advantage of being a prior enlisted soldier is before becoming an officer."
As Company C-3 team leader and the only prior service member in his squad at the Sandhurst Military Skills Competition, Britvec credits his knowledge of the competition to his teammates and to the academy for his preparation.
"I think that the training West Point has provided all the Sandhurst teams going into this competition has been absolutely fantastic," Britvec said. "All the teams going into this competition are going to be very strong."
Britvec's passion for working for the greater good and helping others, is what motivated him to join the Army while he was still a senior in high school.
In 2015, just two days after his 18th birthday, Britvec walked into an Army recruiter's office in hopes of becoming an enlisted infantry man which was driven by the desire of eventually becoming an Army Ranger.
"I found the best way to get into Ranger school was to go infantry to try and live a life of guts and danger" said Britvec. "Then I got there and realized this is a great time, I get to interact with people from all over the country, from different countries and I don't think there's any job in the world like the infantry, it's probably the best job you can have."
After moving up through the enlisted ranks and serving in Afghanistan with 3rd Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, otherwise known as the "Iron" Rakkasans, Britvec began experiencing the positive impact serving in the Army could have on an individual and other countries.
"In the United States we don't often get to see the full picture of war, so people develop negative views of people overseas and these types of highly conflicted areas," Britvec said. "But we would go and see people who deeply believed that Afghanistan could be a place of prosperity, a country of democracy and that is one of the greatest experiences I've ever had, not just as a Soldier but as a human being."
As a specialist, Britvec was offered the opportunity and recommendation to attend The United States Military Academy at West Point. Becoming a leader and helping his Soldiers was inspired him to accept the challenge.
"When I started moving up in the ranks, becoming a team leader and section leader for a period of time, it meant a lot to me to be able to be a force for good for the Soldiers underneath me, to be able to lead people and try to provide them with great opportunities," Britvec said. "When I got my appointment, it felt very rewarding to know that I would be contributing a force for good."
Although this is Britvec's first year competing in the Sandhurst Competition, his unique knowledge as a prior enlisted Soldier provides him the opportunity to fulfill his passions: helping others, and becoming a great leader.