COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s finest enlisted Soldiers worldwide competed in its annual Best Warrior Competition, June 6-9, to find out who is the command’s best of the best.
Soldiers participated in 12 events including an Army Combat Fitness Test, day and night land navigation, a 12-mile ruck march, weapons qualification on the M4 carbine and the M17 pistol, a written test, an administrative board before a panel of command sergeants major and first sergeants, Army Warrior Tasks, an obstacle course, patrol base operations, and a combat lifesaver medical drill.
Sgt. Joshua Yancey, an engagement control shift leader with the 19th Theater Missile Warning Company, 1st Space Brigade, at Naval Air Station, Sigonella, Italy, and Spc. Anthony Bernardo, a signals collection analyst with the 18th Space Control Company, 1st Space Brigade, at Fort Carson, Colorado, both won the competition in the noncommissioned officer and Soldier categories, respectively.
“There’s a certain expectation of performance I had coming into this, and I exceeded it, far and beyond,” the 35-year-old Yancey said, who said he did not think he stood a chance of winning, but came from behind and aced the administrative board event. “I came here to have a good time, learn something new, and to challenge myself. This has been a confidence booster.”
Yancey, from McDonough, Georgia, was the oldest Soldier in the competition - 15 years senior to Bernardo, from Sarasota, Florida, who has been in the Army for all of 21 months.
“This has been a learning experience overall, and I am better off for having done it,” Bernardo said. “I couldn’t have won it without support from my leadership and peers. Accomplishments aren’t necessarily your own. I had a lot of help.”
Over the course of the week, the Soldiers gelled and helped each other identify strengths, in an overall show of unity to accomplish the goal of finishing strong in all the events.
“We’re all on the same team here,” said Sgt. Jalynn Jurich, an early missile warning systems operator with the 22nd Theater Missile Warning Company in Misawa, Japan, who was the competition’s only female competitor. “We all fed off each other and pulled for one another. It’s not an ‘army of one’ anymore.”
New to the next level of BWC at the U.S. Army Forces Command this upcoming summer will be the Best Squad Competition - a 20-event competition, similar to BWC events, composed of each command’s top five Soldiers in a squad, based upon its BWC rankings outcome.
USASMDC’s best squad are the two winners of its BWC, Yancey and Bernardo, along with Pfc. Nestly George of Joint Tactical Ground Station-Korea; Sgt. Daniel Ortiz of Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Space Brigade; and Sgt. Jeovanny Santana of the 18th Space Company, 1st Space Brigade.
USASMDC’s Command Sgt. Maj. Finis A. Dodson, oversaw the competition, and praised all of the Soldiers who competed.
“You are representing SMDC’s finest, and I am proud of you,” Dodson said to the competitors at the BWC’s culminating award ceremony. “All of you did a fine job showing off your skill sets and representing your individual units based off the training you have done to get to this level.”
Dodson added the competitors will have the opportunity to showcase their tactical skills as a squad at the FORCESCOM BWC in August.
“We want to demonstrate that Soldiers in SMDC are tactically proficient in their warrior skills,” he said. “Our Soldiers don’t necessarily perform these types of maneuvers and drills as much as a lot of other units do in the field, as we are more of a technical command, but with the right training and attitude, we can compete with the best the Army has to offer.”
For photos of the competition visit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/armysmdc/albums/with/72177720297382044