USAARL NCO Sets the Pace at ‘Best Warrior’ Competition

By Mr. Jonathan CalderonAugust 21, 2020

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FORT RUCKER, AL— Staff Sgt. Mayra Rodriguez, a non-commissioned officer (NCO) at the U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL), scored top marks during the qualifying rounds of the July 2020 Army Best Warrior Competition, securing praise from USAARL leadership. Representing the U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command (USAMRDC), Rodriquez prevailed as the winner of the Futures and Concepts Center (FCC) portion of the contest, and later finished as the runner-up at the Army Futures Command (AFC) competition.

A total of eleven NCOs from AFC participated in virtual oral board exams as part of the competition, and each Soldier was additionally required to write an essay. Exam topics included first aid, military justice, the NCO Evaluation Report, drill and ceremonies, and other specific aspects of an active-duty Soldier’s lifestyle. Rodriguez’s hard work, dedication, and keen mental focus were instrumental in her advancing so far in the competition.

Advising young Soldiers of their potential amidst her own, current efforts, Rodriguez said, “don’t be afraid of trying something new and don’t doubt your potential.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Hauke, from the U.S Army Aviation Center of Excellence (USAACE), recognized Rodriguez for her outstanding performance during the AFC Best Warrior Competition with a Coin of Excellence. Staff Sgt. Rodriguez was also awarded the Army Commendation Medal for winning the FCC Best Warrior Competition and, the Army Achievement Medal for placing as the runner-up at the AFC level. Both awards were presented by USAARL Commander Col. Mark McPherson.

“Staff Sgt. Rodriguez has being a fantastic asset from the day she got here,” said McPherson. “[She] has been tested and measured against other Soldiers and she has succeeded and represented the best of AFC.”

Rodriguez stated that she felt nervous-yet-confident at the time of the AFC board. Currently pursuing an Associate’s Degree in Applied Electronic Studies, Rodriguez is also the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the Research Operations Group and a safety representative at USAARL.

“Staff Sgt. Rodriguez has done an outstanding job and her MOS [at USAARL] is an Army of one,” said Hauke. “Thank you for everything you have done for USAARL, Fort Rucker and MRDC.”