Regional Health Command-Atlantic hosted the 2021 Best Leaders Competition at Fort Stewart, April 26-30, with more than 60 Soldiers from seventeen teams vying to represent the region in the Medical Command BLC later this year in Hawaii.
U.S. Army Medical Department Activity - Fort Stewart and Winn Army Community Hospital Commander, Col. Julie Freeman, representing the host location, applauded the efforts of RHC-A and community partners who helped make the event happen. She said the event was a true team effort and thanked the supporting Soldiers from the region, 3rd Infantry Division and garrison here on Fort Stewart – as well as the competitors who put their hearts into each challenge.
She said though the days were hot and the completion intense - the efforts provided by all helped make the event a success and proved the readiness of our healthcare Soldiers.
"You can be proud of all that you accomplished. We are so proud of you," Freeman said.
Regional Health Command-Atlantic Command Sgt. Major Rebecca Booker said the effort displayed by the teams was impressive.
"The amount of effort...the motivation, the energy, the teamwork that you displayed out here this week was phenomenal," Booker said. She said the effort put forth prior to arriving and during the completion exemplified "My Squad."
She said it was evident in the individual efforts to support the team – as members lent their strengths to support the needs of the unit – and vice versa.
"We are Army Soldiers and as Army Soldiers, we are leading Army medicine as a cohesive team, Booker said. "Our motto in the region is Ready Now. As I sit here before you. I know that model is just perfect for what everybody demonstrated this last week. You got it right."
"We are Soldiers, United States Army Soldiers," Booker said "Ready to do what we are called to do. We can now shoot move communicate, and Medicaid.
The event officer in charge for Winn ACH, Capt. Alyssa Mann said the event recognized the best leaders in five categories including Best Team, Company grade Officer, First Sergeant, Noncommissioned Officer, and enlisted Soldier.
The event NCOIC, Sgt. 1st Class Kirk Beachum said each team was provided an opportunity to demonstrate their leadership, physical endurance, and general military skills in 10 events that included the Army Combat Fitness Test, obstacle course, written test, land navigation, detainee operations, water survival swim test, a tactical road march, live fire exercise, a medical lane, and a CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, and high yield Explosives) lane; culminating with an oral board testing general military knowledge.
The winners were selected from the highest possible score of 5612 points for the team category, or 1403 points per individual category.
The winning team was from Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center from Fort Gordon, GA who scored 4490.
The winning officer was Captain Ryan Rose from Dental Health Command - Atlantic who scored 1178 points.
The top First Sergeant was 1st Sgt. Scott Schumacher from Dwight D. Eisenhower AMC at Fort Gordon, who scored 1,140 points.
The best NCO was Staff Sgt. Andrew Pitts from Public Health Command - Atlantic, who scored 1168 points.
Top junior enlisted Soldier was Sgt. Pete Nguyen from Martin Army Community Hospital at Fort Benning, Ga, who scored 1165 points.
Schumacher said the competition was intense and he thought all the installations were well represented. He said thought all the teams were trying hard - Just as he and his team facing each challenge one step at a time.
"We had to put our best effort forward, Schumacher said.
He said though the competition was grueling - each member contributed their individual strength toward the team's goal. He said they were able to push work through by keeping an eye out for each other, a sense of humor and by checking and double checking their team members and goals.
He said during the road march they each carried 80 pounds on their back through intense heat - he said they would look at each other and know everyone was hurting. But they would smile, make a joke and push on.
"The teamwork made it more exciting because you feed off each other," Schumacher said. You go into battle as a team and you come out as a team, and that's the way it should be.
Rose echoed Schumacher's thoughts.
"After several days of just brutal competition pushing your body, and it takes leadership from everybody," Rose said. "It wasn't just me as the commanding officer or the first sergeant ... barking orders and telling people what to do, it's everybody stepping up to the plate encouraging each other and just really being that squad that, you know, comes together as a team to accomplish the mission."
Many of the competitors noted the experience was a memorable experience.
"Seeing all of the competitors push themselves further than they thought they could is extremely motivating," said Captain Prayer Watson, from Blanchfield Army Community Hospital from Fort Campbell, KY. "It is absolutely an honor to be a MEDDAC Soldier to be a part of this region help competition, as we all push ourselves further than we thought possible as we all, expand our boundaries as we all challenge one another. It's a motivating and incredible opportunity to be here with all of these intense competitors."