SEMBACH, Germany – A group of Soldiers from Army dental clinics across Dental Health Command-Europe competed in the 2021 Best Warrior Competition held Mar. 22-26 in the Ansbach Training Area.
The winners of the 2021 Dental Health Command-Europe Best Warrior Competition by category were:
Junior Officer Category - Cpt. Dustin Connor, Baumholder Army Dental Clinic
Noncommissioned Officer Category - Sgt. Jamal Fields, Vicenza Army Dental Clinic
Soldier of the Year Category - Pfc. Adam James, Vilseck Army Dental Clinic
The winners of this competition will go on to represent Dental Health Command-Europe at the Regional Health Command-Europe Best Warrior competition to be held in August 2021.
The grueling 5-day competition consisted of; day and night land navigation, Army Combat Fitness Test, weapons zero and qualification, a rugged terrain course and 8 mile road march, 2 mystery events, a 50 question written examination and appearance before an oral board. The rigorous competition is intended to challenge both the physical and mental toughness of each candidate.
For one competitor in particular, this was not his first rodeo. Sgt. Jamal Fields, a 68E dental specialist assigned to US Army Dental Activity-Italy, competed in the 2020 Best Warrior Competition but did not win.
“I competed last year, unfortunately I did not win,” said Fields. “I was determined to return this year and not repeat last year’s disappointment.”
“I focused on being mentally prepared and to push my body to its physical limits,” Fields added. “Every day in the competition was a new day of physical and mental strain. You have to remind yourself that you are capable and that each goal and challenge is attainable. I also focused heavily on my recovery, and brushing up on basic solider skills.”
According to senior Army officials, regardless of the MOS or specialty, everyone is a Soldier first and foremost. All Soldiers must have the same basic skills and common knowledge.
“I totally believe that we must not forget that we are all Soldiers first,” added Fields. “We must be ready when our name is called. It is very easy to get caught up in our clinical jobs, and only focus on the numbers. Don’t get me wrong, numbers do matter, but unfortunately, down range in combat situations that does not help our battle buddies.”
For others competitors, this was their first time to take part in the Best Warrior Competition.
“This was my first Best Warrior competition,” said Pfc. Adam James, a 68E dental specialist assigned to the Vilseck Army Dental Clinic. “I spent many hours doing ruck marches, working out at the gym, and I spent countless hours on knowledge based learning sessions.”
“Of all the competition events, the hardest event would have to be Urban Operations,” James added. “Regardless of rank or MOS, I feel that every Soldier has one basic mission, and that is to defend the country from terrorists both foreign and domestic.”
When asked what advice he had for those contemplating participating in the Best Warrior Competition, Sgt. Fields offered some words of wisdom.
“Do not become content with being comfortable,” said Fields. “Success and growth truly comes from being uncomfortable. My father would always ask me, how can you lead, if you have not yet served? This truly applies to us as Soldiers. Experiencing a competition like this only helps develops you as a leader and challenges us to be great.”