FORT EUSTIS, Va. – A McDonald Army Health Center radiology tech here earned the title of 2020 Training and Doctrine Command's Soldier of the Year, recently competed in the Best Warrior Competition for the Department of Army Soldier of the Year competition at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
Spc. Heaith Howe, a Soldier assigned to the Radiology Department at McDonald Army Health Center, was among the junior Soldiers from activities across the Department of the Army participating in this year's Best Warrior event to determine the U.S. Army's top Soldier. Each competitor competed in and won Soldier of the Year titles at their assigned installations.
From Sept. 17 through Oct. 9, Soldiers completed the new Army Combat Fitness Test, a weapons range qualification, a 12-mile ruck march, warrior tasks and drills, an essay, and capped the competition off with an interview board with senior enlisted leaders.
Howe reflected on how the warrior competition changed due to COVID-19 "Because of the restrictions from COVID-19, all the competitors participated in the competition at their home station where the events were recorded or supervised by a Command Sgt. Major at that location. I was lucky enough to get sent down to Fort Jackson to train-up and compete in warrior events with U.S. Army Futures Command Soldier of the Year and U.S. Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year.
Because of this, we could only base our events on each other; we had no idea how other competitors were doing at their locations. However, I think we did a great job of pushing each other, still keeping that competitiveness that could be lost when you're competing against yourself."
Command Sgt. Maj. Kim Borel, MCAHC Command Sergeant Major, and MCAHC Radiology NCOIC Staff Sgt. Danny Henriquez expressed that Spc. Howe is the model Soldier; competing in Soldier of the Month boards during a pandemic was a feat in its self, often told with little to no time on when, where, or what he would be doing. Yet he pushed forward and won both Fort Eustis and TRADOC Soldier of the Year by a decisive victory.
Howe, 22, said before joining the Army, he was not aware that competitions like Best Warrior existed. "So, it was something I didn't see myself competing in, but I'm glad I was able to be a part of it all."
"I think the Army is a great career path. While the full 20 isn't for everyone, I think just the knowledge and maturity someone receives during a single enlistment will help better them for the rest of their life." said Howe.