ANSBACH, Germany (April 2, 2023) – The Installation Management Command-Europe (IMCOM-E) 2023 Best Warrior Competition (BWC) took place at USAG Grafenwoehr from April 2 to April 6, 2023.
IMCOM-E Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Truchon welcomed the 12 competitors on Sunday, April 2nd to the USAG Bavaria Headquarters for the 2023 Best Warrior competition. He explained its purpose “to reinforce fundamental Soldier skills, promote esprit de corps, and recognize Soldiers who demonstrate commitment to the Army Values and embody the Warrior Ethos.”
Sgt. Carlos Cardona, representing USAG Ansbach, said: “It means a great deal to have had been chosen to represent USAG Ansbach for the second year in a row. I have to redeem myself from the 2022 Best Warrior Competition hosted in Rheinland-Pfalz and push myself harder than I ever had.”
Pfc. Benjamin Heymach, competing in the Soldier category for USAG Ansbach for the first time explained the importance of participation for him: “For me to compete in this competition meant so much. Just knowing I was chosen for this competition made me ecstatic. I was able to compete against fellow soldiers who are at the top of their game and being chosen, I knew I was looked at the same.”
The five-day competition, consisting of 14 events, started immediately following arrival and in-brief with the first graded task of the packing-list-layout. The second event was a written essay. Soldiers were given the topic: “How would you assist with the U.S. Army’s current recruiting challenges at your current level?” The essay had to be completed and submitted by the next morning’s formation.
After the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) in the morning, the competitors completed an obstacle course, a combat pistol qualification on the Engagement Skills Trainer (EST), and a hand grenade event.
Day three started with a 7-mile foot march, followed by an M4 qualification range, medical evaluation lanes, and a stress fire.
The mystery event on day four surprised competitors with timed laps carrying a kayak to an entry point and rowing to an exit point on Wild Boar Lake, followed by archery. The remaining events for that day were day and night land navigation, and weapons lanes.
On the final day of the competition, senior non-commissioned officers from across Europe formed a board panel to conduct interviews of the Soldiers. The group attended a lunch with IMCOM-E Director, Tommy Mize, who made the trip to Grafenwoehr to conduct the award ceremony for the winning team members.
Cardona and Heymach, both of USAG Ansbach, took first place in their respective categories for Non-commissioned Officer and Soldier. They did so by winning a few of the events they were strong in and remaining in the band of excellence for the rest.
Heymach, when asked what it meant for him to win the IMCOM-E BWC, said: “Winning this competition was like no other feeling. I was on cloud nine that day. Knowing I put my all into this was enough for me, but when I found out I won, I knew my hard work wasn’t for nothing.”
Cardona added “Winning meant that all the training and hard work had paid off. It meant a step forward in my mental and physical toughness. Ansbach breeds winners.”
Both Soldiers will have a chance to prove themselves in the next round of the BWC at AMC “Best Squad Competition hosted in San Antonio, TX, later this year.