By Mr. Russell Toof (Regional Health Command Europe)May 17, 2019
LANDSTUHL, Germany -- Ten Soldiers from Regional Health Command Europe competed in nine different events during the command's 2019 Best Warrior Competition May 14-16.
When the dust settled, Spc. Jesus Hernandez, from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, Staff Sgt. Hunter Bishop, from Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Capt. Michael Mooney, from Dental Health Command Europe, earned bragging rights as Best Warrior in their respective categories. Bishop was named the competition's overall winner.
During the three-day competition, competitors had to complete the Army Combat Fitness Test, day and nighttime land navigation, weapons qualification, a 100 meter swim, 12-mile foot march, written test, oral board and warrior task and battle drills focusing on real-life scenarios such as providing aid to Soldiers wounded on the battlefield.
The events were timed and competitors had little time in-between events and little preparatory time prior to events starting, which made the competition even more difficult.
"I think this raises the morale of the whole organization," said Staff Sgt. Spencer Brown who oversaw the warrior tasks and battle drills portion of the competition. "When you get to this level you're competing against the best of other units, not just your own unit."
Soldiers from LRMC, DHCE, Medical Department Activity Bavaria and Public Health Command Europe were vying for the title of RHCE Best Warrior after competing in unit-level competitions earlier this year.
"I'm thankful for the opportunity I've been given," said Bishop, an Auburn, Mass. native, following the awards ceremony. "I think the amount of information you take in during a week like this is phenomenal."
Hernandez, currently a lab technician who hopes to join the Green Berets as he advances his Army career, said his current first-line supervisor encouraged him to compete.
"He competed all the way up to Department of the Army level and I wouldn't be here without him."
He added that he was happy to move on to compete at the U.S. Army Medical Command Best Warrior alongside Bishop.
This year's event marked the first time in three years that RHCE hosted their own best warrior competition.
"Everyone that was involved put in so much time and effort in setup, execution and teardown for the whole competition," said Sgt. Maj. Osmil Sazon, the RHCE operations sergeant major. "We haven't done a competition of our own for the last three years, but this year we decided to bring it back."
Despite the physical and mental toll on the competitors over the three days, the Soldiers recognized the importance of the competition.
"Competing is important," said Mooney. "It increases your readiness, it increases your confidence and every leader is going to need confidence."
Bishop, like Hernandez, was happy to be moving on to the next level.
"Going forward, you can see what areas you were lacking in. I know what I have to work on over the next few weeks," said Bishop.
RHCE winners will compete in the MEDCOM competition from May 29 to June 1.