VICENZA, Italy (July 28, 2020) -- After the grueling Army Material Command Best Warrior Competition held virtually from July 9-10, a Vicenza-based noncommissioned officer was selected to be the representative of the Army Materiel Command for the Department of the Army level of the competition.
Staff Sgt. Jason A. Simmons, assigned to the 414th Contract Supporting Brigade headquartered on Caserma Ederle, was named the AMC Best Warrior runner-up after a two- day competition which included multiple challenges and a virtual board.
“I like events like this that allow you to push yourself to the point where give your best, and during the process you find out what you are made of,” said Simmons, adding that one of the biggest achievements is to bring honor, pride and recognition to one’s unit.
Simmons’ nomination to represent AMC followed the announcement that Staff Sgt. Debra Stokes, from the Army Contracting Command at Fort Riley, Kansas, AMC NCO of the Year and winner of the Best Warrior Competition would not be able to move on at the Army level competition.
Simmons and Stokes had to win at the Army Contracting Command level in order to qualify and advance at the AMC headquarters level, along with 11 other participants selected among the very best that the military has across the AMC enterprise.
Challenges included a wide array of tasks aimed at assessing participants’ overall technical and tactical proficiency, as well as their general and historical military knowledge.
“Topics ranged from basic soldier skills to advanced Army leadership competencies, that incorporated a broad number of subject areas,” Simmons said.
He explained that the board presented situational-type questions, “where you had to pull on your education, experience, knowledge and gut instinct and understand how all of that plays into you as a leader, and how you are going to react to situations.”
Simmons, who calls Cincinnati, Ohio home, enlisted in August 2007. He came to Italy in January 2020, after serving as a station commander in the Richmond Recruiting Battalion, at Richmond, Virginia.
After his arrival to the 414th CSB, through some talented mentoring and coaching by his chain of command, Simmons said he was able to see the positive aspects of setting himself apart from his peers to enthusiastically accept the challenge of entering the Best Warrior Competition.
Due to travel and social distancing limitations in the Army’s fight against COVID-19, this year’s competition took place in the non-traditional virtual environment.
According to Simmons, the virtual setting added to the challenge, making it particularly stressful and mentally exhausting.
“I had zero interactions with my peers,” said Simmons. “It was like being in an isolated room where you can’t see anything else except what you are doing.” He added that the challenge “forces you to reflect on your own experience as well as your training and your education to formulate your educated plan about how you are going to handle things. It also gives you a nice reflection as to how you are conducting yourself so that you can build yourself to be better the next time.”
As Simmons advances to the next level in the competition scheduled in October at Fort Knox, Kentucky and in Washington D.C., Sgt. 1st Class Tabatha L. Fiacco, Operations NCO with 414th CSB, is coordinating the unit’s support mentorship to help him meet the challenge head on.
“Simmons’ qualification to compete at the Army's Best Warrior Competition is an amazing accomplishment. It shows that there are outstanding Soldiers in every MOS. I am very proud of his accomplishment thus far and am certain that he has what it takes to win the Army's Best Warrior Competition,” Fiacco said.