SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii—Soldiers from across the region competed in the U.S. Army Pacific’s annual Best Warrior Competition from June 1-4, 2021, at their respective installations: Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska; and Camp Humphreys, South Korea.
Sgt. Adam Krauland, a cryptologic linguist representing 1-40th Cavalry Regiment, JBER, Alaska, and Spc. Seth Piotti, a combat engineer representing 630th Clearance Company, Camp Humphreys, South Korea, were selected as 2021 USARPAC BWC NCO and Soldier of the Year.
The winners of USARPAC’s BWC will proceed on to the U.S. Army’s Best Warrior Competition for a chance to earn the distinguished title of “Best Warrior.”
As the U.S Army continues to adapt and adhere to COVID-19 restrictions, USARPAC’s annual BWC remains divided into three different locations—a continuation from last year’s novel change. However, despite whether the Soldiers are in the tropics, competing in the frigid north, or contending abroad, their goal remains the same: to prove they truly are the best!
“This competition brought back teamwork and a competitive spirit,” said Master Sgt. Jay A. March, the USARPAC BWC noncommissioned officer in charge. “We needed to bring that back and get that going again so we can ultimately recover from COVID-19 and start receiving the proper training we need to keep ourselves ready.”
Competitors are evaluated on various categories to include: physical fitness, warrior tasks and battle drills, marksmanship proficiency, and general military knowledge.
On the first day of competition, competitors trekked 13 miles with a 35-pound rucksack on their backs, an M4 carbine, water, and their protective gear. Upon completion, the competitors conducted a functions check on their rifles and awaited further instruction.
Later that afternoon, the competitors took a 50-question written test covering basic Soldier knowledge and had to write an essay, a skill that is being evaluated at all levels of the Army’s noncommissioned officer education system.
Day two started early with land navigation and transitioned into the warrior tasks and battle drill lanes. It was an all-day affair that tested the competitor’s aptitude and mastery of these tasks.
“What’s keeping me going is staying strong minded,” said Spc. Alexander D. Castro-Garcia, a military police officer assigned to the 8th Theater Sustainment Command. “I feel tired but I am still motivated—still in the fight!”
Lanes included a medical lane that tested treatment under fire amongst other things, assembly and disassembly of the M249 squad automatic weapon and the M240B machine gun, map reading, a camouflage lane, and many others.
Day three started with the Army Combat Fitness Test that convened early in the morning. Later that day, the competitors moved to their local ranges and prepared for the marksmanship qualification. The marksmanship event tested the competitors’ accuracy with the mounted M240B machine gun, M249 SAW, M4 carbine, and M17 pistol; their tactical movement between stations; hand grenade procedures, and more. Despite muscle fatigue and stress, all the competitors are graded on their ability to engage the enemy.
Finally, on the last day of USARPAC’s BWC, competitors went through a virtual knowledge board held by Command Sgt. Maj. Scott A. Brzak, the U.S. Army Pacific command sergeant major, to test their general military knowledge, military bearing, and review their overall appearance.
The competition was filled with highly capable Warriors that truly represented the very best of USARPAC Soldiers. Through the spirit of competition came the inevitable elevation of self.