By Ms. Dawn M Arden (Leonard Wood)May 9, 2019
Staff Sgts. Donjuan Brown and Jarrod Gasiorowski, Team 2 with the 84th Chemical Battalion, 3rd Chemical Brigade, reached a year-long goal Friday by winning the 2019 Best CBRN Warrior Competition held by the U.S. Army Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear School.
The duo placed fourth the previous year and was determined to take the title this year.
"We had to come back and claim our stake," Gasiorowski said. "We didn't win first place last year, we came in fourth, so it was our due time to come back and prove to ourselves what we had and take first place."
Brown said competing last year gave the team a better idea of what to expect and gave them something to shoot for.
"I literally had it saved in my phone that I wanted to win the Best CBRN Warrior Competition, and I've been thinking about it all year since we won fourth place last year," Brown said. "You can't stop being busy, and you always have to set goals for yourself -- never underestimate the power of setting goals."
Regimental Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Williams commended the teams for representing their units and installations well.
"The fact that all of you made it to Fort Leonard Wood to compete means that you are the best from where you come from," Williams said. "Everybody can talk about being good but only certain people put forth the effort and actually go out and do it. A lot of them talk the talk but none of them walk the walk -- these competitors did everything we asked of them and of course we had to add in the weather."
The wet, and at times severe, Missouri weather caused many changes and required evaluators and competitors to be flexible throughout the three-day competition.
A total of 14 teams, including the competition's first international team, came to Fort Leonard Wood where they traveled approximately 30 miles on foot while carrying a standard 45-pound rucksack and assigned weapon.
Over the course of the competition, teams were tested on both mental and physical tasks, such as, physical fitness, rifle marksmanship, combatives, first aid, land navigation, patrol base operations, water survival, warrior tasks and battle drills, CBRN warrior tasks and a written examination.
"Only one team goes away as the Best CBRN Warrior, but all of you men and women, whether you're part of our military or one of our French allies, you inspired me," said Col. Thomas Duncan, USACBRNS assistant commandant. "You inspired the leadership (and) you inspired our young warriors that are the future of our corps, so you hold your heads up high and be proud."
Before the competition began, Duncan told the teams they would learn many things throughout the competition, but also in preparation for it.
"You're going to learn something here, you're going to learn something (while) preparing that you're going to reinvest in yourself, your Soldiers and your unit down the road -- that's the whole point," Duncan said. "That's the purpose, that's what we're trying to get after. We believe that when you get a chance to come out here and compete, it makes you better. It gives you an opportunity to be better."
The first international team to compete, Team 7 consisting of Lt. Kevin Dubois and Sgt. William Soulima, hailed from the French Army's 2nd Dragon Regiment at Camp Fontevraud. They said the competition was a great experience for them.
"I think it's quite interesting for us and for them because we have very different technology in CBRN, so it's very important to see how each other works to improve our techniques," Soulima said.
Both said their fellow competitors were understanding and helpful when they asked for clarification due to the language and equipment differences. They said they will make sure next year's team is more prepared.
Team 8, with 1st Lt. Ronald Jacobson and Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Totten from the 11th CBRNE Company (TE) at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, finished in second place, followed by Team 6, with 1st Lt. Dakota Holloway and Sgt. 1st Class Terrance Widmer from the 10th Chemical Company at Fort Carson, Colorado, taking third.
As for Brown, he said he plans on defending the title in 2020.
"I plan on (competing) every year, as long as I'm physically able, and just grab the next young Soldier up and pull them through so they can experience the same thing because that's what it's really about -- instilling pride and esprit de corps," Brown said.
Gasiorowski said the competition was successful in testing all aspects of being a CBRN warrior. His advice to those planning on competing in next year's competition is to push through and to work for what you want to achieve.
"Keep pushing. Don't stop -- just go, don't settle for complacency or mediocre," Gasiorowski said. "I know it sounds cliché, but be the best, don't settle."
Photos from the event may be viewed and downloaded at www.flickr.com/photos/fortleonardwood/albums.