JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. – Four Soldiers assigned to Regional Health Command-Pacific units are competing this week in the U.S. Army Medical Command’s Best Leader Competition.
The BLC takes place July 25-30 at Bellows Air Force Station, Hawaii, and other locations on Oahu.
The competition is designed to promote “esprit de corps” while recognizing Soldiers who demonstrate a commitment to the Army values and embody the warrior ethos, according to organizers.
The Best Leader Competition recognizes those Soldiers who have superb military bearing and communication skills, a thorough knowledge of various military subjects, and the ability to perform a wide variety of Soldier skills.
Each team is made up of an officer, a senior non-commissioned officer, a junior NCO, and an enlisted Soldier.
The RHC-P team is made up of three Soldiers from Desmond T. Doss Health Clinic, Hawaii, and one from U.S. Army Medical Department Activity-Korea.
To earn the right to compete in the MEDCOM competition, the RHC-P team first competed and won at the regional level last month at JBLM.
Staff Sgt. Israel Rivera, a combat medic assigned to DDHC and a member of the RHC-P team, said competing in the BLC was “surreal.”
“This is a different level of competition, a different stage,” he said. “This is all-around Soldiering. This is a better competition all the way around.”
Rivera, who’s been in the Army almost 16 years, also represented DDHC in the RHC-P Best Medic Competition last November.
For Rivera, the hardest part of the competition is one of those things that all Soldiers experience at one time or another.
“Sleeping in a hole when it’s cold at night,” Rivera said, with a laugh.
But, he said, his teammates made the challenge somewhat more stress-free.
“As long as I had these two gents to my left and to my right,” Rivera said, referring to Capt. Jason Christman and Spc. Jarrett Rodriguez, “they make it easy.”
Winners of the MEDCOM Best Leader Competition go on to represent the command at the Army’s Best Warrior Competition in November.
Regional Health Command-Pacific, headquartered at JBLM and in Honolulu, is the most geographically-dispersed command in Army Medicine, stretching more than 5,000 miles and five time zones across the Pacific.
The command oversees Army medical treatment facilities and units in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska, Hawaii, Japan and South Korea.