TRIPLER ARMY MEDICAL CENTER, Hawaii - Through the rain, mud, sand, heat, and ocean waves, Soldiers from Tripler Army Medical Center here competed in Tripler’s Best Warrior Competition, Nov. 18-20.
Competitors were tested both physically and mentally, day and night, throughout the three-day competition.
“The Best Warrior Competition challenges a Soldier’s technical and tactical skills, their critical thinking, and just flat-out grit,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony K. Forker, Jr., Tripler’s command sergeant major. “Some volunteer to participate and some are told to step up — no matter the manner in which they end up competing, every competitor comes out on the other side a better Soldier.”
The first event began at midnight Nov.18 with night land navigation, followed by day land navigation. Day one ended with a mystery event, which included a one-mile beach run, drills in the sand and shore break, and a timed Army knowledge test.
Competitors kicked off the second day with the Army Combat Fitness Test and wrote a timed essay. This was followed by a test of their knowledge of Army Warrior Tasks during a scenario-based Medical Situational Training Exercise lane.
The third and final day of the competition began with a timed six-mile road march. The next event was a uniform inspection and an extensive oral knowledge board, which included several challenging questions posed by a panel of board members comprised of leaders from across the organization.
“They’ve been taken completely out of their comfort zone; so much of this was kept under lock and key from them, they didn’t know what was coming next,” said Sgt. 1st Class Matt Summey, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the event. “I once learned from a first sergeant, early on, that it’s good in the Army if you want to progress, to get comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Every competitor gave it their all but, in the end, only one noncommissioned officer and one junior enlisted Soldier could win.
“The competitors with little to no sleep and minimal direction remained in high spirits and left everything they had out at each event,” said Sgt. First Class Jamika Williams, noncommissioned officer in charge, Deputy Commander for Medical Services. “No matter how daunting the task, each of them attacked it head-on and put up an impressive fight all the way to the very end.”
Sgt. Steffen Kelly, representing the noncommissioned officers, and Spc. Zachery Smith, representing the junior enlisted Soldiers, were chosen as the winners of Tripler’s Best Warrior Competition.
Kelly and Smith will represent Tripler in the Regional Health Command-Pacific Best Warrior Competition.