LANDSTUHL, Germany- Seven Soldiers from Public Health Command Europe recently competed to become the best of the best in the annual 2021 Public Health Command Europe officer, noncommissioned officer and Soldier of the Year competition June 21-24.
Soldiers selected to compete for the prestigious titles have mastered a series of benchmarks throughout the year to qualify for the Regional Health Command Europe Best Warrior Competition.
When the scores were tallied, Capt. John Brandsma, a veterinary corps officer at Sigonella Veterinary Treatment Facility, was named best officer, Staff Sgt. Keila Ortiz, a veterinary food inspector at Baumholder Veterinary Treatment Facility, was named best noncommissioned officer and Cpl. Ryan Cable, an animal care specialist at the Vicenza Veterinary Treatment Facility, was named best Soldier.
"Being awarded with the title of Best Soldier, meant a great deal to me,” said Cable. "I felt very humbled and blessed to have been able to represent Public Health Activity-Italy. I would not have had the opportunity to compete if it was not for their support during these last few months. "
During the four-day competition, the competitors were tested on their Army aptitude and conquered urban warfare simulations, physical fitness tests, written exams, and warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today's operating environment.
In addition, the Soldiers were evaluated by a selection board of senior noncommissioned officers. Competitors were evaluated on their uniform appearance, military bearing, and knowledge of critical Army topics.
"Staying mentally focused on no sleep for 48 hours was definitely the biggest obstacle during the competition," Cable said. "But it is also what made it intriguing and tested each competitor’s resilience and determination to succeed."
Sgt. Maj. Brett Long, Public Health Command Europe’s sergeant major, oversaw the annual competition.
"Seeing these seven competitors give their all for 48 straight hours was awesome,” Long said. “They all represented their commands well. The quality of each and every one of them makes me proud! Given the grueling physical demands, weather challenges, and mental stressors, they performed admirably. This annual competition is designed to select the best candidates to go forward to the next level board, and although, they were close, I am confident that the winners will excel at the next level of competition, they are all truly Best Warriors!"
Sgt. Annalysia Cruz, an animal care specialist at Naval Station Rota, Sgt. Markell McKee, a veterinary food inspector from Public Health Command Europe, 2nd Lt. Alejandro Davila, a human resources officer from Public Health Command Europe, and Cpl. Malaysia Ford, an animal care specialist at Veterinary Medical Center Europe, were the other Soldiers to compete.
The winners will represent Public Health Command Europe at the Regional Health Command Europe Best Leader Competition in the spring of 2022.