U.S. Army soldiers participate in obstacle course during Best Leader Competition
U.S. Army Spc. Cameryn Usher, assigned to the Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center, Fort Hood, Texas, crosses the horizontal ladder portion of the urban obstacle course of the 2022 Regional Health Command-Central Best Leader Competition in Fort Bliss, Texas, April 10, 2022. The urban obstacle course tested the physical strength and stamina of the competitors.

The competition promotes esprit de corps throughout the Army while recognizing soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and officers who demonstrate commitment to the Army values and embody the warrior ethos. The competition challenges the Army’s best leaders in a demanding, continuous, and realistic simulated operational environment.

(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. LaShic Patterson) (Photo Credit: Sgt. LaShic Patterson)

The 64 participants, consisting of officers, noncommissioned officers, and junior enlisted soldiers, were broken down into 11 teams to compete. The winning team will move on to represent RHC-C in the U.S. Army Medical Command Best Leader Competition.

The obstacle course was the second event of a week-long competition on April 10, 2022. During the obstacle course, each soldier was tested on their physical and mental toughness by going through a series of events.

Notable events included executing a 70-pound squat press, clawing through a ninja rig, and flipping an 80-pound tire. The 12-event obstacle course also included the completion of a two-kilometer run.

Spc. Mackenzie Maynard, a competitor assigned to WBAMC at Fort Bliss, said she felt the obstacle course was a good test of both her physical strength and stamina.

“The hardest thing about the obstacle course was really the whole thing,” said Maynard. “It was really about keeping strong through it all and not giving up through it. It was a good combination of being physically and mentally tough.”

As the competition continues, Maynard is most looking forward to the water survival portion.

“I think I’m going to do best at water survival because I’m from Florida, so I’m used to swimming,” said Maynard with a grin on her face.

For some who are accustomed to serving as competitors, they get the opportunity to supervise the events this year.

Sgt. Sherman Coleman, a lane operator at the Best Leader Competition, assigned to Public Health Command, Fort Riley, Kansas, normally participates in these events as a candidate. However, this year he will enforce the standard and cheer on the contestants.

“Normally, I’m always competing, but this event I’m seeing it from another aspect,” said Sherman. “I get to be here like a mentor, being able to coach them, and I also want to see their best.”

Coleman also finds it essential to let the competitors know that even if they do not win, what they did is important. He knows from personal experience that it matters to have encouragement from those around you, and he will enjoy being that person for soldiers this year.