FORSCOM Best Squad Range Day
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – FORT HOOD, Texas - U.S. Army Spc. Samuel Alvarez, an infantryman assigned to 1-502 IN, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, receives ammo during the range portion of the FORSCOM Best Squad Competition 2022 at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 15, 2022. These Soldiers represent the best in U.S. Army Forces Command.(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kaden D. Pitt) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Kaden Pitt) VIEW ORIGINAL
FORSCOM Best Squad Range Day
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – FORT HOOD, Texas - U.S. Army Best Squad competitors don their gear after finishing rifle qualification during the range portion of the FORSCOM Best Squad Competition 2022 at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 15, 2022. These Soldiers represent the best in U.S. Army Forces Command. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kaden D. Pitt) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Kaden Pitt) VIEW ORIGINAL
FORSCOM Best Squad 2022 Foot March
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – FORT HOOD, Texas - U.S. Army Spc. Liam Lee, an infantryman assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, prepares his rucksack prior to the 12-mile foot march portion of the FORSCOM Best Squad Competition 2022 at Fort Hood, Texas, Aug. 19, 2022. The Best Squad Competition reinforces fundamental Soldier skills and squad level tactics. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kaden D. Pitt) (Photo Credit: Sgt. Kaden Pitt) VIEW ORIGINAL

After five grueling days of late nights and early mornings battling overwhelming obstacles in the scorching Fort Hood, Texas heat, the winners of the U.S. Army Forces Command Best Squad Competition 2022 were finally announced.

The competitors gathered in Club Hood for the announcement following an early morning 12-mile ruck march and squad board to cap off the event. When at last the top squad took the stage, hugs were shared, smiles went wide and a cry of “AIR ASSAULT!” echoed throughout the room.

The five Soldiers, Sgt. 1st Class Brandon Rodriguez, Sgt. Andrew Row, Spc. Samuel Alvarez, Spc. Liam Lee, all infantryman assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, and Cpl. Jared Kiner, a combat medic also assigned to 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division, representing 18th Airborne Corps are the best squad in FORSCOM, but what makes the best squad?

“This squad is such a lethal force because we really focus on cohesion,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Veronica Knapp, the senior enlisted advisor for 101st Airborne Division. “This competition is built on trust, and along with having strong leadership and tough Soldiers, that’s something the team really excels at.”

This trust helped push the team past each hurdle that stood in the way of their victory. Over the five days they would be pitted against eight other teams from around the FORSCOM footprint in everything from physical assessments, stress shoots, obstacle courses and tests of their mental acuity. Each team had to rely on all its members to extend past their weaknesses and highlight their strengths.

“Quarterbacks don’t win the game on their own,” said Sgt. Angelo Canevari, an indirect fire infantryman assigned to 153rd Cavalry Division and the runner-up FORSCOM non-commissioned officer of the year. “Even the all-stars on the team have weaknesses. That’s where the rest of the team can come in and pick up the slack which makes the team stronger. Strong sergeants make strong Soldiers, strong Soldiers make strong squads, strong squads win the wars and winning matters.”

These squads worked to compliment each other in every way they could and as the squad grew stronger so did the confidence of the members within. Each strived to meet the measures of an ideal squad.

“The ideal squad doesn’t look a certain way,” said Knapp. “It’s about how each member feels. It’s that feeling of knowing that you can depend on the people to your left and right. It’s the squad that gets the mission accomplished and can still look out for each other, and that’s what our squad is.”

After the winning squad received their meritorious service medals, they shared pats on the back and beamed with excitement as they spoke, demonstrating the bonds they had forged together.

“This squad means everything to me,” said Row, whose lapel bore two MSMs, one for his role in the best squad and the other for being FORSCOM NCO of the year. “These are the men who I would always go to bat for and getting to do that day in and day out over the past week has felt really special to me. I am extremely happy to call the guys standing next to me the best squad.”