After being named the NCO of the Year for the U.S. Army Materiel Command, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Zamudio is zeroing in on his next target.
Zamudio, a combat arms advisor with the U.S. Army Security Assistance Command, will represent AMC Sept. 29 in the Army’s first ever Best Squad Competition in conjunction with what is considered the Super Bowl of Army trials—the annual Best Warrior Competition.
“I’m expecting pretty stiff competition,” said Zamudio, who is currently assigned to USASAC’s Security Assistance Management Organization at Fort Bragg, N.C.
The Best Warrior competition has been held annually for nearly 20 years and is used to identify the Army’s top Soldier and top noncommissioned officer. This year the Army will simultaneously run the Best Squad, pitting Soldiers from across its ranks against each other in five-person teams.
Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston announced the creation of Best Squad at the annual Maneuver Warfighter Conference at Fort Benning, Georgia earlier this year, noting that the “squads” will be composed of five Soldiers, as opposed to the traditional nine-person squad. This will better allow non-infantry units to compete.
Zamudio will lead the AMC squad, which includes U.S. Army Garrison Alaska BOSS president and recently named Soldier of the Year Spc. Matthew Ruiz, and will be rounded out by other top competitors from the AMC Best Warrior Competition.
After winning the AMC-level competition in August, Zamudio was transported to Fort Rucker, Alabama, where he and his competition squad team members conducted four days of intense, realistic training that including weapons firing, air assault and urban combat operations.
A career Soldier and former platoon sergeant and first sergeant with the 82nd Airborne, Zamudio was in his element and spent critical days coaching and training team members for the upcoming Best Squad competition. He said he was impressed with the team’s performance, noting everyone gave a 100 percent, every day, and no one quit during the most strenuous drills.
With each team member coming from various military backgrounds, some non-tactical, the challenge is learning to move as a high-performing, tactically proficient team. Zamudio said the four days of training at Fort Rucker was needed, and successful. He’s hoping, however, that he and his “squad” will be able to conduct additional training before the competition begins later this month. In preparation, he has drafted a training plan that focuses on everything from basic Soldier skills and board preparation to squad movements and team tactics.
While admitting that the completion will be tough, Zamudio is hopeful that he and his team can go the distance.
“It’s like this. We don’t have to win every event to be the winner, but we do have to do well at every event. I’ve seen how motivated and competent our squad is, and we can absolutely execute, and be competitive, and represent AMC well.”
Winners of the Bes Squad competition will be announced during the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition in October. For updates on the competition, visit www.army.mil/bestsquad/ and USASAC social media platforms.